Belfast Telegraph

Increase in homeowners taking loans to bolster pensions

By Russell Lynch

There has been a surge in the number of people taking out equity-release loans against their property in retirement, according to industry statistics.

Cash-strapped homeowners over 55 released £473m of housing wealth in the first six months of the year compared with £424m from January to June 2012.

The growth in activity means the equity-release market has returned to pre-financial crisis levels, with more lenders offering products and a greater demand from borrowers.

Nigel Waterson, chairman of the Equity Release Council, said: "As a nation we are becoming more aware of the shortfalls in pension income, with an increasing number unable to save sufficient funds for the duration of their retirement. This situation is made worse by the fact that the growing cost of day-to-day living shows no sign of levelling out or subsiding anytime soon." The Institute for Fiscal Studies also warned government pension reforms will make more people poorer in retirement than better off. People in their 20s may have to live to 105 for their pension income to match what they would have got under the old one.

Belfast Telegraph