There were year-on-year increases across the board with the number of customers served up 10 per cent, total equity released up eight per cent and the number of new plans agreed up six per cent.
As if to highlight just how far the market has come in recent years, the total value of housing wealth accessed in Q1 has risen by 187 per cent from the same period in 2015. The number of new plans agreed increased by 122 per cent over the same time-frame.
These rises have become something of a running theme of late, with later life borrowers increasingly seeing equity release as a viable avenue to achieve the retirement they desire.
With the rising number of people entering the market comes an increasingly diverse set of needs and priorities to be addressed and met, if equity release products are to remain fit for purpose.
Rising to the challenge
To the market’s credit, it has risen to the challenge, as highlighted by recent figures released by Key Partnerships.
These show that the market boasted a total of 73 products in 2016, rising to 86 the following year.
However, there’s now a combined total of 233 individual products available. This is a big jump from the 144 on offer in Q3 of last year; a rise of 89, which was more than the total available in either 2016 or 2017.
While the raw figures are one thing, they’re only truly meaningful if the rise in products simultaneously continue to meet the needs of end-point consumers.
We’re increasingly seeing borrowers looking for more from their plans, be it long-term care provision, downsizing and/or inheritance protection, or fixed early repayment charges (ERCs). It’s up to us as lenders to continue to meet those needs.
One thing that we, as a lender, have consistently identified among customers, is a growing need for flexibility in later life lending plans.
The sector’s current levels of unprecedented growth can only be sustained if products consider the needs of the customer as a point of priority.
It’s something we’ve tried to incorporate in our recent offerings and we remain committed to continue seeking solutions that best meet our customers’ needs for the future.