Lack of equity release awareness pushes pensions to the limit

18 September 2008 / by Rebecca Sargent
Only nine per cent of Brits aged over 55 would consider releasing equity in their homes to fund the costs of home adaptations needed to cope with old age, research from Newcastle Building Society has revealed.

When questioned about how they would pay for essential home alterations like stair lifts and ramps in old age, 37 per cent said they would dip into their state pension whereas almost half said they would rely on their savings accounts to pay.

According to the research, the average cost of the alterations is £4,000, and when the average state pension offers just £4,500 each year, this does not leave much to spend on living costs.

However, this could be combated if more Brits used the equity in their home to fund such costs, Newcastle Building Society believes. Retail sails executive at Newcastle Building Society Bob Mottershead, said:

"It is worrying to see that so many people aged 55+ are looking to their pensions to pay for essential adaptations to their home, when they could be overlooking their biggest asset –money tied up in their home.

"While there is also government assistance available, qualifying for a grant is not guaranteed and should not be wholly relied upon.

"It is interesting to gain an insight into what could I think be a lack of awareness on equity release, amongst both the older and younger generations. The findings highlight the need to educate all ages on the benefits of taking out such a scheme.

"By using an equity release product such as a flexible drawdown facility (where clients only pay interest on the amount they use), homeowners would be able to free up cash from their home and generate a substantial amount to pay for the costs associated with getting older," Mr Mottershead added.

© Fair Investment Company Ltd