New figures from Canada Life reveal that a significant proportion of over-55s use equity release to make their homes safer and more comfortable as they get older.
Half of Canada Life’s equity release customers (50%) use some, or all of the equity they release from their property wealth to fund home improvements in Q3 2018. For the first time, the data reveals what those home improvements are. While 38% say they use equity release to make home improvements to add value or for extra enjoyment, one in eight (12%) customers use the funds to make adaptations for extra comfort and safety.
The findings come amid uncertainty over future funding of later life care in the UK. They also reflect previous research Canada Life conducted that found the overwhelming majority of people (88%) want to stay in their current property as they get old, as opposed to downsizing or moving into a care facility.
Alice Watson, Head of Marketing and Communications at Canada Life Home Finance, said:
“We’ve long known that homeowners use equity release for more traditional home improvements, such as extensions and landscaping. But this data supports a trend of homeowners opting to stay in their family property for as long as possible, rather than move into care homes."
“As a result, we’re seeing people use the wealth stored up in their homes to future proof them. In other words, to fund investments such as ramps, stairlifts or other additions that will make life easier if and when health deteriorates."
“It is a positive sign that a growing number of customers perceive their property wealth as part of their financial portfolio and are using equity release in a considered way. This holistic approach to financial planning means people are more likely to consider the fullest range of options available. This is particularly important when you consider that more of us will most likely need to fund our own later life care needs.”