Equity Release Council Q4 2019 lending figures comment

Stuart Wilson, Chief Executive at Answers in Retirement Group, said: “As a business fully immersed in the later life and equity release market, we believe these lending figures show the growing maturity of the market and to be just shy of £4 billion of equity release lending in 2019 shows stability in activity and demand. From our own perspective, last year saw us achieve a 25% growth in new business, with average loan sizes dropping slightly which we believe reflects a focus on quality by advisers right across the sector. They are utilising new income-based products, with drawdown remaining the product of choice in the majority of cases. It was however noticeable that we saw a significant strengthening in activity during Quarter 4, which we put down to a greater confidence in the political situation allowing later life borrowers to have confidence in their decisions. Looking ahead, our belief is that we’ll see later life lending activity continue to grow; all the demographic drivers that will fuel this are still in place such as lowering pension income prospects, increased longevity in retirement, and issues around the funding of care. The industry has driven huge product diversification and choice in 2019, so this year looks likely to see a return to positive growth with ever-increasing standards and choice for customers.”