Don’t judge Equity Release by an outdated cover

Published: 31/03/2014

Retirees are being urged to not judge a book by its cover after a recent report was somewhat pessimistic in its predictions for the equity release sector, claiming it ‘still faced headwinds as consumers had yet to show a strong appetite’.

The statement has been rebuffed by professionals in the industry on the grounds of that the report used year-old data. According to latest figures, total lending in the sector increased to an impressive £1.06bn.

There has been significant headway made to shed the negative connotations associated with equity release over the past decade. The sector is now a shadow of its former unregulated self and is gradually becoming recognised within a widening marketplace.

But a frustrated Richard Espley, Head of Equity Release at Goldsmith Williams, believes inaccurate information doesn’t help the cause:

“When the industry first launched it rightly earned itself a bad reputation. The sector was unregulated and instead of achieving its aim of helping retired homeowners sky high interest rates sent them spiralling into debt.

“Thankfully things are very different now. The sector is now fully regulated and, as a result, homeowners are protected from falling into negative equity. There has also been a real change in the products now available, all of which contributed to the record breaking numbers the market achieved last year.

“However it’s taken time and a lot of effort to distance ourselves from this negativity but this can all too quickly resurface after a bit of ‘bad press’. I wouldn’t want misinformation to lead to ill-informed retirees when, in fact, latest figures points to a growing confidence in the sector.”

Content correct at time of publication

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