Homeowners over 55 are increasingly willing to tap into property wealth for a wider range of purposes, moving away from the idea of equity release as a need-based option, according to the latest figures from Canada Life.
The report also showed that other choices, such as using equity release to clear mortgages and support day-to-day living costs, also remain popular.
For the first time, half of customers used equity release to fund home improvements in Q3 2018, up from 45% in Q2.
The proportion using equity release to help them buy a new property went up to 11% from 10%, along with the number who purchased a car, caravan, motorbike or boat, up to 16% from 15%.
While options such as using equity release to clear an existing mortgage (35%), consolidate unsecured debts (25%) or supplement daily living expenses (20%) remain popular, the figures show a trend towards more lifestyle-based purchases.
Alice Watson, head of marketing and communications at Canada Life Home Finance, said customers were becoming more familiar with equity release and had expanded what they would consider using it for.
She added: “With the market as a whole also seeing its first billion-pound quarter in Q3 this year, and doubling in size since 2016, we expect to see further growth built on older people’s desire to explore all their assets holistically as part of their retirement planning growth.”