Equity release loans – reputation recovers and leads to unprecedented growth!
Equity release loans, or lifetime mortgages as they are often known, allow homeowners over 55 to borrow against the equity in their home during their lifetime, but with the mortgage payable on death. This can release cash, whether a lump sum, regular sums, or both, at a time when the homeowner needs it most.
These mortgages have had very bad press in the past, with horror stories of negative equity dominating the headlines. However, they are now heavily regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the range, flexibility and innovation offered, driven by competition in the market, is vast.
Consequently, growth in lifetime mortgage customer numbers now outpaces other areas of the mortgage market.
The Equity Release Council (ERC) was set up in 1991, as the industry body for the equity release sector, with the objective of representing and facilitating the safe growth of the equity release market. The ERC represents lenders, financial advisers, solicitors, surveyors and other industry professionals and each member is committed to the Council’s Statement of Principles to ensure consumer protections and safeguards.
The individuals who advise on the lifetime mortgage products, and the firms that provide them, have to have obtained specialist qualifications too.
Equity release can be used for a variety of purposes, including:-
- Adapting or improving your home to enable you to live there for longer
- Repaying debts such as mortgages or credit cards
- Paying for help and assistance around the home
- Purchasing a large ticket item such as a car
- Taking the holiday of a lifetime or visiting family living overseas
- Providing financial assistance to relatives for a house deposit or further education
Whilst many consider equity release to be the preserve of cash strapped retirees, the range of products and enhanced regulation mean that this is now of greater appeal to wealthier individuals using this as part of wider financial and tax planning.
In addition, for some, equity release products are being used to meet the social care challenges they face.
It is vital to obtain expert advice on lifetime mortgages and we have technical specialists who will meet you face to face, advise fully on the meaning and effect of the product and give guidance that is both impartial and personal. With a thriving wealth planning and wills team, we can also provide this advice at the same time, enabling you to ‘get your house in order’ simultaneously.
You can also contact one of our other solicitors in the residential property team here.