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Equity Release Market Dips Slightly, But Remains Strong – Equity Release Council

The amount of equity released by customers dipped slightly between Q4 2020 and Q1 2021, according to new statistics put out by the Equity Release Council (ERC).

Despite the dip from £1.16bn to £1.14bn, the ERC said in a statement that market and consumer confidence was higher in the UK’s subsequent lockdowns, with market and consumer confidence proving ‘more robust’ than at earlier points in the year.  However, the number of customers served in Q1 2021 as opposed to Q4 2020 fell from 19,333 to 16,527. This was apparently due to normal seasonal trends that was exacerbated by the strict lockdown restrictions.

David Burrowes, chairman of the ERC, said that the data was following a steady course, even if at a lower level than before the coronavirus pandemic. He added: “The market has proven to be robust and applied lessons learned in the first lockdown to maintain access to property wealth for those customers who need it, guided by multi-layered financial and legal advice.”

He went on: “Decisions to release equity are not made in isolation of wider developments in the property market. The resilience of house prices means that, for many older homeowners, property continues to be the most significant asset at their disposal and a viable route to boosting their income from pensions and savings, or gifting a ‘living inheritance’ to family members for their own use such as for a house deposit.”

Stuart Wilson, corporate marketing director at more2life, said that the figures showed that it had been a strong start to the year. He added: “With total quarterly lending up year-on-year and over 10,000 new plans agreed in Q1, it’s clear that lenders and advisers have continued to provide excellent support for equity release borrowers despite the challenges presented by the Covid-19 crisis. This is down to the continued cooperation of lenders, advisers, trade bodies and providers in the lifetime mortgage market, with all parties having played a strong part in driving activity over recent months.