"The research shows that there is still an education piece to be done to bridge the awareness and knowledge gap of the general public."
Despite the growth of the equity release sector over recent years, over 55s still don't understand key details and features of the product, according to research from Age Partnership.
Of particular relevance was the lack of knowledge of the no negative equity guarantee. Over 66% of the respondents didn’t know the meaning of this key safeguard.
54% of survey respondents said they don’t understand how interest rates impact on equity release plans and 15% believed that they would no longer own their own home.
70% didn’t understand the difference between tied vs whole-of-market advice.
Justin Wysocki, chief revenue officer, at Age Partnership, said: “We commissioned the research to give us an understanding of the general public’s perception of equity release. It has highlighted quite a few areas that will be of interest to many people in the sector, such as the lack of understanding around the no negative equity guarantee and the knowledge gap around whole-of-market advice.
“Searching the whole-of-market allows us the find the best possible solution for our client’s individual circumstances. If potential clients aren’t aware of this from the beginning of their journey they could end up taking a tied service without even realising.
“Overall, the research shows that there is still an education piece to be done to bridge the awareness and knowledge gap of the general public. At Age Partnership we have been advertising equity release on national television for over six years. We know from our own enquiry volumes that this has helped to raise awareness – but there is still a long way to go.
“We remain committed to helping educate the public on the option of equity release and findings from the research will help form our future communications to new equity release enquirers.”