• Equity release advisers see surge in inquiries about interest-only issues
  • One in four equity release customers inquire about downsizing but decide against it , Bower research shows

More than one in three equity release customers are still paying off mortgages highlighting the growing need for retirement lending solutions, research* from national specialist Bower Retirement Services shows.

Its study found 36% of over-55s seen by advisers are still paying home loans and advisers are seeing a surge of inquiries from customers with interest-only loans. Bower’s quarterly Adviser Tracker Research* found 68% of equity release specialists have seen a rise in customers with interest-only loans looking for solutions.

Advisers are also reporting an increase in customers who have considered downsizing as a solution but then decided not to go ahead. Its study found 23% of clients who looked at downsizing did not go ahead with key reasons including staying near family and friends and not being able to find a suitable home.

Around 75% of those who did not go ahead said they wanted to stay near family while 54% could not find a suitable home.

Bower believes the recent launch by Santander and Legal & General of a partnership to offer lifetime mortgages as an option to customers facing the possibility of repayment shortfalls demonstrates the growing need for new solutions.

Andrea Rozario, Chief Corporate Officer at Bower Retirement Services said: “The Legal & General and Santander deal is a significant move for the launch of retirement lending but much more needs to be done.

“Significant numbers of people aged over-55 are paying off mortgages but do not have the range of options they need.

“Downsizing will be appropriate for many but it is also clear that many want to stay in their existing home for emotional and financial reasons and should be able to do so as long as it is in their best interests.”

One potential problem for clients is their home not being worth what they thought – around 18% of advisers say clients who went ahead with equity release found their house was valued at lower than they had expected.

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