Comment: North-south divide no match for equity release

Flexible nature of modern products serves clients nationwide

There is an interesting north-south divide within equity release. For someone who grew up in the north of England, but lived much of her life down south, there is always an added significance to this national cleft. For far too long, the economic balance of this country has been tilted hugely in favour of the south, and yet the growth areas for equity release are almost all north of the Watford Gap. But what is the importance of this for the wider industry?

According to analysis from the Equity Release Supermarket, lifetime mortgage sales in areas of the north east shot up by 119 per cent year-on-year during 2018, whereas growth in London crept up just 19 per cent. Of course, this pattern somewhat mirrors the growth, or lack thereof, in house prices throughout the United Kingdom, but the north-south split is interesting for all of us in equity release.

In truth, despite the massive difference between north and south in terms of new clients, the larger sales remain in London and the surrounding areas.

Again, this comes down to the far higher property values in the south, but what this really drives home is the extremely flexible nature of modern equity release. No matter where our clients live, there is a lifetime mortgage out there for them.

In 2019, the lifetime mortgage can work for people in multi-million-pound properties in Chelsea, as well as it can for someone living in a normal house anywhere else in the country.

And, for me, this is what solidifies the success of modern equity release and proves once again that we are here to stay.

Andrea Rozario is chief corporate officer at Bower Retirement

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