06 June 2022 - 01:23 PM

The number of equity release products has nearly trebled in the past year hitting a new record high of 1,557 at the end of the first quarter of the year, new data* from Key Partnerships, the referral arm of the UK’s leading equity release adviser Key Later Life Finance shows.
The number of plans available is nearly treble the 547 on offer at the end of the first quarter last year as the later life lending market continued to expand and offer increased flexibility to customers.  
Repaying loans is becoming easier:
With the introduction of the Equity Release Council’s 5th product standard on 28 March 2022, all new customers can now benefit from the ability to make ad-hoc penalty free repayments.  Compared to the same time last year, just 330 plans – 60% of those available – offered one-off fee-free repayments.
Fixed early repayment charges on equity release plans have also become more of a feature across the market – around 63% or 979 plans offer fixed early repayment charges making it easier and more affordable for customers to switch loans.
Innovation across the market has included a wide range of flexible features including downsizing protection, lending on sheltered properties, allowing interest payments, offering downsizing protection and drawdown products as the table below shows.
FEATURE Q1 2021 No. Q1 2022 No.
Ad-hoc penalty free repayment 330 1,557
Interest served 209 384
Drawdown 306 974
Accepting sheltered properties (automatic or by referral) 316 757
Downsizing protection 254 979
Fixed early repayment charge 231 979
Jason Ruse, Business Development Director at Key Group said:The expansion of the number of plans available on the market has been remarkable with the last year seeing the number nearly treble.  Developments in the market and the innovation in product design reflect the growth in lending and the demand from customers for more flexibility underlining how equity release has become a true later life lending market.
“The rapid widening of choice emphasises the importance of expert independent advice for customers and the need for advisers to stay up to date with what is a growing and fast-changing market. Advisers who do not regularly work in the market should consider whether setting up a referral relationship might not be a better idea.”
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