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Equity release market looking positive

In addition, 75% have faith in the stability of the market to withstand further economic pressures and remain at least at the same levels.

The sector’s ability to fulfill a growing consumer need (75%) and meet changing retirement requirements (38%) were highlighted as two of its key strengths.

Indeed, these strengths have led to far greater engagement between the equity release industry and Government than ever before, and members believe this will continue over the course of the year (80%).

In addition to engagement, 60% of respondents believe that the Government will look to the industry for help with public policy issues such as meeting the pensions gap and funding care.

The majority of members (60%) also believe that there is potential for a Government department to step forward to "own" equity release, thus providing a further endorsement in the minds of consumers.

Amid this positive view is the acknowledgement that there will also be challenges ahead. Some 86% believe that SHIP needs to continue to work to increase awareness and understanding of equity release among the Government and consumers, to overcome problems faced including a lack of understanding and confidence in the products (25%).

SHIP Director General Andrea Rozario said: "Over the past 12 months, we have seen a growing acceptance of equity release as a retirement planning option amongst consumers, advisers and the Government. With longevity increasing and the Government making it clear that the state will not be able to provide all encompassing retirement funding, other options must be considered.

"However, it is important that those who are entitled to state support fully understand what this will involve.  SHIP is currently running a campaign to clarify the relationship between equity release and state benefits, having found that many advisers and consumers find the current system in need of simplification.

"We need to build on the good work already done to ensure that consumers in particular understand equity release so that they are able to weigh it up alongside other retirement planning tools. There are many opportunities ahead for growth and engagement, and the appetite to do so is evident amongst providers."

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