Equity release during COVID: How Is the market faring?

On the surface, the recent figures from the Equity Release Council make for dispiriting reading, with a 34 percent quarter-on-quarter drop in both customer numbers and total borrowing amounts compared to Q1 of this year. Like almost any industry, later life lending has been hit by potential customers deferring major life decisions (especially when it comes to their finances) and being reticent to take on any form of perceived risk when the world is in flux.

However, do those numbers tell the full story? The industry has remained quietly optimistic even in the face of recent figures. Several people within the industry have pointed towards the figures likely being skewed by delays in finalising the cases requiring the full valuations over the spring, while others estimate that case completions are currently running at a three to six-week delay. When allied to an existing uptick in activity in June, there’s a real potential of a surge in activity in Q3 as existing cases finalise and new customers revise their retirement plans and explore ways to fund their later years.

Also, plans continue to offer more flexible terms, allowing customers greater choice and control in how they manage their plans over its duration. The market can now boast products that afford customers the option to make up to 12 repayments a year, repaying up to 40 percent of the initial requested funds over the same period ERC-free, meaning that should they suddenly find themselves in a position of having additional income (such as an inheritance), they can manage the rolling up of interest on their terms.

Compared to a lot of industries, the market has weathered the pandemic and come out of the worst of it relatively unscathed and with a faint air of optimism.

Compared to a lot of industries, the market has weathered the pandemic and come out of the worst of it relatively unscathed and with a faint air of optimism. Perhaps more importantly, it’s done so without sacrificing the innovation and product development that will go some way to ensuring that when those thinking of interacting with the market do start making inquiries and exploring the options available to them they’re greeted by attractive and flexible products. 

However, it’s similarly important that the market doesn’t take these things as a given, and that we all continue innovating and developing to continue giving our customers the best possible experience, and the best possible solutions to their retirement needs.

For more insight and information go to Pure Retirement's website.