Plan sales grew by 29% in the three months to September 30th to 13,341 compared with the same quarter last year while the value of new equity released rose to £1.525 billion (£1.049bn).
The average amount released in the three months rose to £114,354 with customers in London releasing £261,946 on average. Older homeowners in the South East, South West and West Midlands all released more than £100,000 on average.
Financial management remained the main driver behind the market with 60% of the amount released being used to manage debt-clear mortgage borrowing (28%), rebroke equity release plan (25%) and repay unsecured borrowing (7%). Financial prudence born out of the pandemic and heightened by the cost-of-living crisis is encouraging over-55s homeowners to reduce their outgoings.
However, 20% still looked to support their families with an average of £53,503 being gifted to help loved ones onto the property ladder, provide an early inheritance, repay debts and even subsidise university fees. The bank of mum and dad (Q3 2022 – 11% of equity released) while providing less funding than in 2021 (17% of proceeds) remains open for business and keen to support the wider family – especially with the recent stamp duty changes.
Existing customers benefit from flexibility
The number of customers remortgaging existing equity release deals continued to rise with 17% making use of the enhanced flexibility of current products compared with 14% in the same period of 2021. Key estimates the market transacted 1,004 remortgage cases last year but this doubled to 2,268 in Q3 2022 as lower interest rates encouraged customers to rebroke. In Q3 2022, the average customer moved a balance of £115,817 from an interest rate of 5.1% to 4.6%.
At the end of Q3 2022, there were 582 products on the market with all new products offering penalty-free ad hoc capital repayments, 65% including downsizing protection and 63% allowing customers to serve interest. Interestingly, fixed early repayment charges (ERCs) – which finish in as little as 5 years – now dominate the market (64%) followed by products which offer a choice of fixed or variable (34%). Just 2% only offer gilt-linked variable ERCs.
As we enter an environment where rates are likely to be higher, these product options and flexibilities are likely to be more important than ever – especially for older people whose financial circumstances may change considerably over their later life.
Across the regions
Key’s Market Monitor, which analyses data reflecting the whole market, shows plan sales and the total value of new equity released rose in every region. Only London and Scotland recorded single-digit increases in plan sales at 4% and 2% respectively although the value of new equity released in both regions rose strongly. Scotland saw a 34% increase and London a 65% rise
The North East experienced a 127% rise in new equity released followed by Yorkshire & The Humber with a 125% rise. Plan sales in the North East increased by 60% and in Yorkshire & The Humber by 52% The value of the housing market in the South East and London meant those regions accounted for nearly half (46%) of all equity released during the three months despite accounting for less than a third (31%) of plans sold.
The South East recorded the most plan sales, but more plans were sold in the South West, North West, East Midlands, and West Midlands than in London.
Will Hale, CEO at Key, said: “While there is no doubt that we did see the market return to more normal post-pandemic trading conditions in Q3 2022, the political and economic turmoil over the last few weeks has, like the mainstream mortgage sector, impacted the rates and LTVs available. However, the cost-of-living crisis has continued to bite, inflation has hit double digits and older customers moving from fixed-rate mortgage deals to their lender’s standard variable rate have been shocked by the difference.
“With over-65 homeowners sitting on an estimated £3 trillion of unmortgaged property wealth and four in five of the customers who progress to speaking to one of our advisers looking to address a financial need, there is a clearly a key role for the sector to play in helping older customers navigate through the current economic challenges and still live a fulfilling later life.
“Modern lifetime mortgages have come a long way in a short period of time so when you consider features such as drawdown, the ability to serve interest and/or the opportunity to ad hoc capital repayments free of ERCs, there is more opportunity than ever before for customers to carefully manage their borrowing. The proliferation of fixed early repayment charges which typically disappear after around ten years – although it can be as low as five years – also means that remortgaging these plans in future is a real option for many people.
“In these market conditions more than ever before, specialist advice is crucial, Advisers must be prepared to probe and challenge customers on their wants and needs, making them acutely aware of the implications of decisions in both the long and short term and ensure highly personalised recommendations aligned to individual circumstances. All options should be considered as equity release won’t be right for everyone.”
Leave a Comment