Equity release lending on track to total £6bn in 2022

The equity release market is heading towards £6 billion in new lending this year after a record first half, according to research from Key Later Life Finance.

Related topics:  Later Life
Rozi Jones
20th July 2022
coins pound money grow save
"As an industry, the first half of the year has seen the market return to growth as we work to develop and grow to better serve over-55s homeowners."

Plan sales grew by 24.5% in the first six months of the year to 25,448 compared with last year, while the value of new equity released rose by 31.7% to £2.556 billion – a record high for new lending and plan sales in a half year.

The average amount released in the first six months hit £100,468, more than £5,000 higher than in 2021, as increased flexibility and house price increases attracted new customers with average interest rates at 3.65%.

This helped existing customers to manage their finances in the face of the cost-of-living squeeze with an additional £876 million taken out in further advances and £200 million taken out in drawdown, which was 32% higher than in the same period last year.

Customers used drawdown products during the six months to reserve £876 million worth of housing equity for use – a 32% increase from £666 million in H1 2021. The average drawdown customer reserved £52,363 compared with £45,746 last year and took an initial advance of £58,115.

The research also shows that remortaging now accounts for almost a fifth of equity release. The figures reveal a 79% year-on-year increase in the number of people remortgaging from 2,130 (H1 2022) to 3,817 (H1 2022).

Accounting nearly a fifth (19%) of all equity released in H1, customers chose to remortgage an average value of £130,808, lowering their rates from 5% to 4.2%, which could save over £16,000 in interest over a ten year period.

Key’s data shows an increase in the number of customers using property wealth for discretionary spending, but debt repayment is the major use of the money released – 57% of customers used some or all of the property wealth to repay debt compared with 53% last year.

Equity release lending by region

Plan sales and the total value of new equity released rose in every region. Only London recorded a single digit increase in plan sales at 3.1% although the value of new equity released in the capital rose by 12.2%.

The biggest year-on-year rise in the total value of new equity released was in the smaller and more volatile Northern Ireland market where the figure trebled, however in comparison to other areas across the UK the Northern Ireland market is still relatively small. Strong rises were seen in Wales where the total value rose by 73% followed by Scotland on 67% and Yorkshire & The Humber on 50%.

Northern Ireland also recorded the biggest year-on-year rise in plan sales at 136.5% with Yorkshire & The Humber seeing growth of nearly 36% followed by Wales and Scotland with a rise of around a third.

The strength of the housing market in the South East and London meant those regions accounted for nearly half (47%) of all equity released during the six months despite accounting for 32% of plans sold.

Will Hale, CEO at Key, said: “As an industry, the first half of the year has seen the market return to growth as we work to develop and grow to better serve over-55s homeowners. With the cost-of-living crisis very much at the forefront of people’s minds, we’ve seen a continue focus on the management of both secured and unsecured debt – although the proportion of people who include some discretionary spending has increased.

“As is to be expected from a maturing market, we are seeing more people choosing to remortgage products and are delighted to be in a position to provide a better understanding to customers. Year on year, we’ve seen a 79% increase in the number of people choosing to move their borrowing to a new equity release product – transferring from an average rate of 5% to 4.2%.

“While pandemic and the cost-of-living crisis has affected all age groups, it is particularly critical in this market that we understand our customers’ needs and recognise their vulnerabilities."


More like this
to our newsletter

Join a community of over 30,000 intermediaries and keep up-to-date with industry news and upcoming events via our newsletter.