Equity release lending breaks £1bn barrier

This is more than the entire year’s lending totals from 2009 to 2012 and 95% of the total market value last year.

In Q3 alone equity release lending totalled £375.5m, the largest amount in any single quarter since records began in 2002.

Nigel Waterson, chairman of the Equity Release Council, said: “Equity release is proving an invaluable financial planning solution for over-55s approaching retirement as pension savings fail to cover rising costs.

“Rising house prices also mean that customers have a growing pool of equity at their disposal and can still keep a large proportion of the value of their house intact.

“Equity release can offer a large and much needed boost to people’s finances, providing comfort and stability throughout retirement.”

The number of new equity release customers increased by more than 5,500 in Q3 alone, the largest amount in a single quarter for nearly six years.

The number of new customers in 2014 currently stands at 15,624, while the Equity Release Council expects this figure to surpass 20,000 by the end of the year.

The average value of equity release loans reached £67,467 in Q3 2014, 9% higher than Q2.

The value of lending via lump sum products rose 16% from the last quarter to £148.7m while the value of drawdown lending rose by 15% to £225.7m.

Waterson added: “To fulfil the potential the market is clearly capable of, it is critical that we continue educating consumers about the benefits of equity release and increase the range of products at their disposal.

“Input from regulators and the government is invaluable to this process and further collaborations will help extend the crucial role that equity release has to play in retirement planning.”