Friends Provident has commissioned a report from research house, the Future Foundation regarding attitudes towards retirement funding.
Only 6% of respondents are considering equity release, however, experts believe it will become more common by 2020.
Conveyancers may wish to think about how much they know about equity release and whether it is a sector they want to focus on, given its likely growth in popularity. Age UK has recently conducted their own research into equity release schemes and the outcome has demonstrated that people welcome such schemes: The report stated that “The research showed that people who have bought equity release are incredibly positive, much more so than we were expecting actually. We thought people would view them, reluctantly, as a last resort, but among those people who have used equity release, there is a really very warm reception to it.”
Andrew Harrop believes that negative perceptions of equity release schemes stemming from problems in the past are being overcome: “I think the industry does suffer from a reputational problem from cowboys in the early days and actually you can get better products now than was the case.”
Clearly the legacy of early equity release schemes leaves many distrusting them, but the demise of final salary schemes and increased longevity could mean equity release schemes will become more commonplace in the future. Across the total sample, the majority of respondents (55%) anticipate staying in their current property when they retire. Only 16% plan to sell their house and move to a smaller one in the same area. Thus, while a substantial number of home owners perceive their property as their largest and most valuable asset, they are reluctant to realise the value of that asset by selling it to help fund retirement. The desire to stay in one’s own home continues to increase as people get older while the intention to down-size declines. Among people aged 34-44, 42% want to stay in their own house when they retire. For people aged 65+ the proportion soars to 77%.
On the 12th November the Equity Release Awards are being run by Incisive Media with Ashfords Solicitors, Equilaw and Goldsmith Williams being nominated for awards as Best Conveyancer. Goldsmiths have been tweeting lobbying support so clearly many firms believe this is a lucrative and growing potential market but Equilaw have won the event for the last two years. We wonder are some conveyancers missing out on a potential growth market?