A positive year for Equity Release

A positive year for Equity Release

Equity Release Solicitors’ Alliance (ERSA) carried out research over the last 12 months to establish what awareness and demand there is around equity release.
The results show an increase in the percentage of people considering equity release, 38 per cent, up from 20 per cent, which is a staggering 90 per cent increase.  The research was conducted amongst 4521 UK adults and shows that there are opportunities out there for financial advisors.
Almost matching the scale, the number of people who say that they would definitely not use equity release has dropped 16 per cent, down from 43 per cent to 27 per cent.
Set up to “provide a focus of information on independent legal advice about equity release, ERSA is made up of seven specialist members from the field of equity release.  Equilaw Ltd, Ashfords LLP, Goldsmith Williams, Gording Brown Law Firm LLP, Birchall Blackburn LLP, Blacks Solicitors LLP and Caesar & Howie all provide information from the perspective of an equity release borrower together with being a source of information for intermediaries.
Additionally, the results show that there is an increase of the overall percentage of positive or neutral perceptions towards equity release, now standing at 63 per cent.
Chairman of ERSA, Claire Barker, commented:
“This research shows that 2011 has been a very good year for the equity release industry as both awareness and demand have grown significantly. Retirement issues have been prominent in the news, with rises in the pension age and cuts to public sector pensions particularly significant. With people’s minds focused on how they will fund their retirement, equity release is one of the options that many people consider to help maintain a good standard of living.
The cost of living has also been rising as inflation has outstripped wage rises, and as a result, more people are taking out equity release or are considering it to maintain their standard of living, or to help out family and friends. As many people over the age of 55 have benefitted from the housing boom of the past twenty years, they are keen to share some of this wealth with loved ones, and equity release allows them to unlock some of the value of their home to help out”.
Looking to the future and what is in store for 2012 Claire added:
“The thing that I would most like to see in the equity release market over the next year would be more IFAs advising on equity release. The demand for equity release is rising and there needs to be more advisers who are authoritative on this and prepared to discuss it with clients. While it is extremely positive that media coverage and word of mouth recommendations play such a large part in awareness of equity release, this is a major financial decision and people need advice from professional IFAs and specialist solicitors.
More advisers, increasing awareness, and greater take-up of products would also have the knock-on effect of demonstrating the increased demand for equity release and would encourage more providers to enter the market with innovative products that meet the needs of a wide range of consumers.”
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