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Economic recovery boosts equity release figures

Compared with the same period in 2012, equity release plans taken out by customers in the first half of this year are up 12 per cent, from an average of £49,305 to £55,272 for each individual.

The recent Equity Release Market Monitor from over-55s specialist adviser, Key Retirement Solutions, found that equity release is becoming an increasingly common approach to paying off mortgage debt, as opposed to using the money to clear credit cards and loans.

Increased confidence in the economy, combined with improved awareness of equity release as a financial solution to debt, has arguably led to a surge in new equity release plans.

In 2012, around £446m of equity was released by homeowners using an equity release scheme, a figure which has now increased to £508m in just one year. As a result, it’s possible that 2013 may be the first year since the financial crisis hit in 2008 that equity release in the UK will surpass £1bn.

Further statistics from the latest LMS remortgage report which concentrates more specifically on the monthly picture surrounding the equity release market, found that the average amount remortgaged also rose in the last three and a half years, from £121,000 to £150,000. Despite this, separate statistics from LMS showed activity amongst existing homeowners in the remortgage market remained broadly flat due to the low rates already on offer.

In the years following the economic crisis, mortgage deals have changed significantly and LMS argues that longer length mortgages with heavily discounted and fixed rates are now increasingly popular in comparison with the old style mortgages which often lasted for shorter periods of time. The average length of a mortgage in 2008 was just over three years, now the average length is nearly five years.

Chief executive of LMS, Andy Knee, said: “Both the value of mortgage lending and the number of remortgagers fell for the first time since the beginning of the year in June. In contrast, gross mortgage lending continued to rise and as a result, remortgaging accounted for under a quarter (23 per cent) of transactions. However, remortgage customers were taking out a record amount of equity…others who are considering remortgaging would do well to take advantage of the current deals, as there will be an avalanche of remortgage activity once interest rates do eventually increase.”

Julie Palmer

About the author

Julie Palmer

Regional Managing Partner

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Julie is a law graduate who qualified with Price Waterhouse in 1994. Julie joined Smith & Williamson in 1997 and became a partner in 2001. With Mike Stevenson, Julie set up Middleton Partners offices in Salisbury and Southampton, both of which are now part of Begbies Traynor.

Julie is a member of the Insolvency Practitioners Association and the None Administrative Receivers Association and is a Fellow of The Association of Business Recovery Professionals. Julie deals with all aspects of Corporate Recovery and turnaround work and takes all form of personal insolvency appointments.

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Insolvency Practitioners Association Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales R3: Association of Business Recovery Professionals ICAEW Business Advice Service Turnaround Management Association ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) ICAS | The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland