There was a surge of popularity in the equity release sector during the first quarter of 2017, with the new customer and lending growth at an all-time annual high.
Following the record-breaking figures during 2016, new data from the Equity Release Council has indicated that momentum in the sector is yet to subside. During Q1 of 2017, the number of agreed equity release plans totalled 8,351, up by 61% in comparison to the same period last year. Generally speaking, equity release lending in the first quarter of the year was over three quarters (77%) higher than Q1 of 2016, rising from £394 million to £697 million.
This represents record-breaking growth in both cases, with the annual increases being the highest since 2002 when the quarterly records began.
There was also more equity release activity during the first quarter of 2017 than the final quarter of 2016. This is the first time this has been the case since 2003. As a point of comparison, the number of new equity release plans dropped by 19% between Q4 of 2015 and Q1 of 2016. Between Q4 of 2016 and Q1 of 2017, however, new plans saw an increase of 1%, with total lending growing by 4%.
The growth in the equity release market has been significant over the past few months and this rise in demand has not gone unnoticed among industry professionals. Acknowledging that 2017’s busy start had not followed the seasonal trend, Chairman of the Equity Release Council, Nigel Waterson highlighted the significant growth that the sector was experiencing. Given the increasing popularity of equity release among older homeowners, he suggested that this growth in is set to continue.
However, it’s not only demand which is driving the increase in equity release activity. As Mr Waterson highlighted, the rise in available products and services within the market has encouraged consumer interest in equity release, as well as broadening the points of entry to the sector.
A joint project between several regional law firms, Equishield provide professional legal advice for Equity Release Mortgages across England and Wales. More information can be found on their website.