Photograph of Andrea Rozario, the author of this document.

Mortgage Solutions

It might not seem like it after a year of being cooped up inside, but the world is still changing out there. Populations, for example, are always evolving and growing in interesting ways. Most interestingly to the later life lending industry, is the steady ‘greying’ of society and the significance this will have for our market and our customers.

According to the always interesting and consistently insightful Equity Release Market Report – distributed quarterly by the Equity Release Council and required reading for anyone dealing with the lifetime mortgage – the “Over-55s account for 75% of UK population growth in recent years and are projected to increase in number by 3.7m by 2030”. The significance of this change for equity release is two-fold. Firstly, these numbers prove our little corner of the mortgage industry is here to stay. With a swell of millions more people eligible for a lifetime mortgage coming in the next few years, our offering will reach more customers than ever before.

But secondly, and most importantly, the increase in numbers within the over-55s population will also turn up the heat on everyone involved with our industry to deliver the best products & advice available. With so many more over 55s in the country, we must redouble our efforts and make sure this is the opportunity we take to make equity release the mainstream stalwart I believe it can and should be.

Product launches, for example, have been a huge area of success for equity release as there are more lifetime mortgages available today than ever before. In 2020, customers had access to over 500 different products and a new lifetime mortgage was launched, on average, nearly every single day. But this should only be the start. With population growth speeding onward as it is, new products and more choice is key to making sure we keep up.

Beyond this, we need to continue to foster modern training and expertise within our adviser pool. The pandemic has allowed advisers to become more adept with technology and other 21st century solutions, but we need to make sure these improvements remain in the advice arsenal of our advisers way beyond the end of the pandemic. The new over 55s coming in the next 15 years will be more familiar with tech than any other cohort previous, and we need to make sure we are on top of any and all modern developments.

And finally, with this growing over-55s population coming round the bend, I would love the entire industry to realise that equity release can be a solution for all sorts of people at many different times in their life. Yes, the average customer age still sits at a shade over 70, but I would really like to see some more innovative and flexible products aimed at the 55 – 60 market. This population is going to grow and grow, so coming up with options for them will be so important to our future success.