40pc of lifetime mortgages used to clear existing loans

Consolidating unsecured debt (33%), making home and garden improvements (33%), gifting to family (15%), buying a new property (12%) and using the funds to subsidise ongoing historically low annuity rates (9%) were also cited by older homeowners as the most popular reasons for unlocking equity in their home.

Figures from the Equity Release Council released recently showed that the equity release market has grown by more than a third since 2011 and in the last year over £1bn has been released by over 55s looking to unlock the equity in their homes.

Georgina Smith, managing director of Stonehaven, said: “Reasons for taking out lifetime mortgages changes all the time and this is a reflection on how the product has evolved over the last eight years with more innovative and flexible products coming on to the market to suit emerging needs.

“Lifetime mortgages are an effective financial solution for homeowners who are quickly waking up to the fact that they can unlock the equity stored in their homes to enjoy life today.

“Flexible products mean that the borrowing and payment options can be tailored a lot more to suit specific needs and circumstance – offering lump sum payments to do the things you always wanted to do or using it to top up income in retirement and relieve financial pressures.”

Stonehaven was the first to launch products offering interest payments when it launched in 2006.