Figures published by the Equity Release Council revealed that more than 17,000 older homeowners accessed some of the capital built up in their properties last year which represents the sector’s strongest performance since 2009.
The total value of the equity release market increased by 17% to £925.7m in 2012 and while this is an impressive increase, all stakeholders will be keen to help the sector exceed the £1bn milestone in 2013.
One of the most interesting statistics to emerge from the Council’s data is that the average value of individual plans last year was more than £52,000, the highest amount since 1998. This is partly explained by economic uncertainty, with an increasing number of older homeowners carrying mortgage and credit card debt into retirement.
These solid statistics are not attributable to a single factor, but rather a convergence of influences – not least the launch of the Council to raise the profile of home reversion plans and lifetime mortgages.
While we are on the topic of our trade body, I would like to offer outgoing director general Andrea Rozario my best wishes as she looks to pursue new challenges.
Along with her colleagues and the full backing of all Council members, including Bridgewater, Andrea did much to not only broaden the scope of the organisation, but to champion the equity release sector at every turn and her positive influence will be missed.
However, I have every confidence that the Council will identify the right candidate to assume Andrea’s mantle and help to keep steering the trade body – and the industry as a whole – in the right direction.
Chris Prior is sales and distribution manager at Bridgewater Equity Release