Research from Bradford & Bingley's specialist lending arm, Mortgage Express, has revealed that equity release mortgages are growing in popularity.
The figures show that three times as many mortgages of this type, also known as lifetime mortgages, were sold in 2004 than Mortgage Express anticipated.
Equity release made up just under a third of the mortgage intermediary market, when the mortgage lenders were expecting it to account for only ten per cent.
"The overall lifetime mortgage market saw modest growth throughout 2004," said Roger Hillier, product development manager at Mortgage Express.
"The outlook for 2005 is very positive - we expect the market to benefit from recent FSA regulation, and in turn to grow by 30 per cent."
Equity release or lifetime mortgages allow property-owners aged 55 or over access to some or all of the value of their home, whether as a lump sum or a regular monthly income, in return for a share of a property.
An expert on the lifetime mortgage urged caution in making the decision.
"Since it is likely to be the last major financial transaction anybody enters into, it is essential that everybody considering such a step makes sure they are fully aware of the financial and other implications before committing themselves," Ged Hosty, chairman of the Actuarial Profession's equity release working party, told in2perspective.com.Click here to find out more about mortgages.
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