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Case processing delays hiding true health of equity release market – Carter

by: Paul Carter, CEO of Pure Retirement
  • 02/10/2020
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Case processing delays hiding true health of equity release market – Carter
The past few months have created an unprecedented trading environment within the equity release sector, which has seen consumers understandably deferring major life decisions and procedural challenges needing to be adapted to and overcome.

 

However, it could be argued that as a whole the market has gradually found its feet again in the last couple of months and has certainly coped better with the unique wider circumstances than many other sectors.

It has firmly put itself in a position where it can continue to provide retirement solutions to consumers as and when they choose to interact with the later life lending sector again.

Figures from the Equity Release Council have highlighted a 34 per cent quarter-on-quarter drop in both customer numbers and total amounts borrowed in Q2.

Some in the industry felt that delays in processing cases of up to three to six weeks according to some estimates, have meant these market figures do not necessarily represent the true picture concerning consumer interest.

Indeed, Responsible Life recently announced a 52 per cent year-on-year rise in mortgage sales, suggesting that consumer interest has remained relatively strong despite the current climate.

 

Continuing innovation

It’s been gratifying to see the market has continued to innovate and drive forward even in these difficult times.

The average market rate has dropped 12 per cent year-on-year to 4.05 per cent and a new product entered the market every 28 hours this year, according to Key Partnerships data.

This amounts to 525 whole-of-market plan options now available to consumers, representing a 510 per cent growth from the 86 in 2017.

There has also been a continuation of plan flexibility that has been a staple for the past couple of years.

There has also been a move by lenders in recent months to review and enhance their technological offering, whether that’s through their resources or in the way that they interact with third-party partners.

In a world that has become increasingly digitally-focused, using technology to give advisers as straightforward a journey as possible is arguably more important than ever.

 

Ready to adapt

The market has shown itself to not only be adaptable in the face of adversity, as evidenced by the move to desktop valuations, and later more flexible solutions in line with government guidance, but also one not afraid to continue innovating even in trying conditions.

It has meant that we as an industry remain ready to continue providing retirement solutions to customers as and when they feel ready to review their retirement planning options.

With housing wealth among over-65s increasing by £28bn year-on-year to sit at £1.12tr, equivalent to the GDP of Indonesia, it is perhaps more important than ever the equity release market continues to ensure it offers solutions that fit customers’ needs, whenever they choose to explore lifetime mortgages as a retirement funding solution.

 

 

 

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