"Many incorrectly believe that downsizing is the only way to release their financial security tied up in a property, when the reality is that equity release can be an alternative solution."
The average person over 50 is sitting on the equivalent of £56,574 worth of extra space in their home and a third are considering downsizing, according to research from Equity Release Supermarket.
The research shows that over 50s typically have two unoccupied rooms, with each square metre of empty space equating to £1,669 based on average house prices.
The study also revealed that despite the average over 50 having £18,113 sitting in their bank account, a third have less than £7,500 in savings.
A third of respondents have considered downsizing but just 12% said they would release equity in their property to stabilise their financial future.
One in 10 are considering dipping into their pension pot early to support their lifestyle, while 15% are debating selling some of their belongings.
Of those who are yet to retire, respondents reckon it will be eight years before they’re able to give up work and a fifth are thinking of retiring later than planned.
Mark Gregory, founder and CEO of Equity Release Supermarket, commented: “Our survey found there is plenty of space in the family homes of empty nesters which is going to waste, and it's not just space - but possible financial wastage.
“There tends to be fond memories and a certain amount of nostalgia linked to a property, so it’s difficult for people to say goodbye to a family home. One option for empty nesters to raise equity is to simply sell the family home and down-size. However, with a reluctance to say goodbye to all those memories, many incorrectly believe that downsizing is the only way to release their financial security tied up in a property, when the reality is that equity release can be an alternative solution.
“The research highlighted that many over-50s are effectively sitting on thousands of pounds of wasted space - and with the aid of equity release - could be used to ease people’s financial situation, enhance retirement or enable them to explore various other opportunities in later life.”
“Many people don’t understand the features and benefits of equity release as a possible solution to support retirement. Therefore, taking equity out on their home is not always the first port of call, and they end up opting for alternatives that may not be the best option to suit their circumstances.
“Whilst it’s not the only option to raise capital for an enhanced retirement, equity release could be beneficial and should always be considered with the right financial advice.”