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Retired homeowners cashed in £1.25 billion of property wealth in the first half of 2017 at a rate of £6.9 million a day, according to new analysis from leading over-55s finance specialist Key Retirement.
The new record high for the equity release market means more property wealth was released in the first half of 2017 than all of 2013 when the market was worth £1 billion, underlining how important housing equity is to enhancing the standard of living in retirement.
Almost 100 retired homeowners took out equity release plans per day in the first half of this year as plan sales soared by 44 per cent and the total value released increased by 33 per cent.
Key’s authoritative Half Year Equity Release Market Monitor shows total plan sales grew to 17,656 from 12,246 in the six months and total property wealth released climbed to £1.246 billion from £934.378 million.
The average pensioner took £70,625 from their home enabling them to fund holidays and home improvements, as well as helping out family and paying off mortgage and credit card debts. Nearly a third of equity release customers used some or all of the money to pay for holidays.
In London and the South East of England, where more than half the property wealth was released, customers cashed in nearly £114,000 and £82,000 on average respectively. The average house price for equity release customers across the UK was £314,600, rising to £575,850 in London.
Dean Mirfin, technical director at Key Retirement, said: “With nearly 100 retired homeowners a day releasing an average of over £70,000 each, the equity release market is making a major contribution to retirement standard of living.
“More property wealth was generated for pensioners in the first six months of this year than all of 2013, demonstrating how rapidly the market is expanding as record low rates drive more competition to the benefit of customers.
“The amount of money being released means that customers can afford to help themselves and families while also sorting out issues such as interest-only mortgage repayments and debts.”
Across the country all 12 regions saw growth in the number of plans sold and the value of property wealth released. Retired homeowners in the South East and London alone released £616 million. Northern Ireland recorded the biggest increase in plan sales at 77 per cent followed by 56 per cent in the South East. Northern Ireland also saw the highest rise in value released at 75 per cent followed by the South West on 51 per cent.