The market’s performance in H2, takes the total amount of equity release lending for the year to £3.92bn which remains flat on lending figures in 2018.
More than 44,000 borrowers took out equity release in the period from July to December, trumping customer numbers in the first half of the year which reached 41,263.
And 49p of property wealth was accessed in Q4 2019 for every £1 of flexible pension payments taken.
Product choice continued to increase for equity release borrowers, with a nine per cent rise in options in the last six months of the year taking the number of deals to 313. Overall, the number of deals on offer rose by 42 per cent for the year.
The most common feature is voluntary or partial repayments that do not trigger an early repayment charge. Borrowers can choose from 210 deals that offer this feature after a 65 per cent rise over the year.
Products with downsizing repayment features rose 64 per cent over the year pushing the number of deals with this option up to 187.
The proportion of equity release deals that can be taken out on sheltered or age restricted accommodation has risen by 126 per cent, the largest percentage increase of any product feature.
Some 174 deals allow for this property type.
There has been an 80 per cent rise in deals that permit homeowners to pay the interest on the loan, rather than force them into rolling the interest up onto the loan balance. More than 80 are now available.
Increased competition in the market has helped to drive down rates, the report added.
Some 40 per cent of products offer rates below four per cent. Just seven per cent of products fell into this bracket a year ago in January 2019. The average rate fell to 4.48 per cent, as of January 2020.
Drawdown was the most popular type of plan with 63 per cent of new customers taking these deals, rather than opting to withdraw a lump sum.
The average age of new drawdown customers rose to 70.6 years in H2 2019, the highest figure for two and half years.
David Burrowes, chairman of the Equity Release Council, said: “Hopes that the UK would leave behind the political and economic uncertainty of 2019 have been rapidly overtaken in recent weeks by the national and global response to the coronavirus outbreak.
“While uncertainty becomes the norm, property wealth will inevitably continue to play a role over the months and years to come, to help meet the wide-ranging needs of the UK’s ageing population.”