Equity release enquiries about ‘gifting’ rise during lockdown

SunLife has reported an increase in the number of homeowners looking to release equity from their homes to help younger generations whose finances have been affected during the UK lockdown.

The over-50s expert said that those looking to release equity in order to improve their own lifestyle is making up the bulk of enquires, but revealed it had recently been receiving more enquires from older homeowners looking to use the equity in their homes to offer support to loved ones struggling with added financial pressures from coronavirus.

The average house price in the UK has risen from £58,250 in March 1990, to £84,620 in March 2000, to £231,855 in March 2020 – according to government figures.

SunLife suggested the main reasons people generally opt for equity release are to enhance their own lifestyles, either by improving their homes or funding holidays and other large purchases, to boost disposable income, to pay off debt, or to gift to family.

SunLife equity release director, Simon Stanney, commented: “We have definitely seen a shift in the reasons why people are enquiring about equity release since lockdown started from the more traditional ‘enhance’ to ‘gifting’.

“I think with so many people suffering financially, it’s understandable that older homeowners – who have built up equity in their homes and are in a position to help – will be looking to support family in any way they can.

“In many cases, the family home would be inherited by the children anyway; equity release allows the gifting of that money when needed.”

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