Pent Up Demand For Retirement Freedom Will Take Equity Release To New Heights

Is this the end? Surely we must be close? When the pandemic started, who foresaw that two years would pass before we’d even think about putting down our masks and getting back to normal life? Maybe it will still be another two years or more before Covid is really a thing of the past, but this time does feel different. It seems like we may actually be in the final furlong of the Covid pandemic so businesses of all types should be ready for a rush.

For equity release, the rush may already be on. According to one industry participant, January of this year was the busiest month for enquiries for 18 months . And this concurs with our similar experience at Bower. People up and down the country have entered 2022 with a real sense of positivity – many of them in more ways than one – and are looking to enter their retirement with a proper financial plan.

January 2021 for a number in the industry, was also busier for completions for new and returning customers than the year before . Essentially, we’ve started this year with a bang. It is my view that the pent up demand for retirement freedom will make this year, whether Covid truly ends or not, the best for equity release since the pandemic began. But what needs to happen to go even further?

We have had a slow and steady time of it during the pandemic, and that’s to be expected. But with the finish line in sight, now is the time to kick on and get things in place for when normal life returns. Product launches have really ramped up over the last few years – the soundbite doing the rounds a couple years ago was that a new lifetime mortgage was being launched every 28 hours – but we need to keep going. With a new Equity Release Council standard launching – the right for every customer to make partial repayments penalty-free – new and flexible lifetime mortgages need to be available for every customer.

But beyond more customer choice, we need more lenders to throw their hat in the ring. Equity release has weathered the storm of the pandemic and stayed stable when many markets have struggled – so now is the time to jump in as there’s a lot of lost growth to recover. These next few years will be huge for our industry, and more major high street lenders should be looking to get in now to reap the rewards later.

And finally, as we come to the end of this pandemic but enter into the start of a period of real growth for equity release, advisors should look to specialise in our niche. Those in the traditional mortgage market who want a change of scenery could do far worse than looking to focus on the lifetime mortgage and the best way to do this is with a respected long standing company that puts safe client service at the heart of everything it does.