19 July 2021 - 09:59 AM

Download the full report here

Older homeowners received a £1.94 billion property wealth boost in the first half of the year as the equity release market continued its lockdown recovery, data from the UK’s leading equity release adviser Key shows.
The number of equity release plans taken out rose by 3% in the six months to June 30th to 20,445 compared with a year ago as the total value of new equity released rose by 32% from £1.47 billion to £1.94 billion.  In addition, a further £666 million was reserved for future use.
With customers focused on meeting ‘big ticket’ expenses like mortgage and unsecured debt repayment (av. £74,894) and gifting (av. £72,520) rather than holidays (av. £16,458) and home improvements (av, £16,907) the average amount of equity customers are releasing has increased to £94,982 (H1 2021 - £72,340). 
However, with a buoyant housing market driving the value of the typical home used for equity release up 15% from £321,209 to £368,883, LTV’s have remained relatively stable (26% from 23% in H1 2020).
The total value of new equity released at £1.94 billion was higher than the £1.68 billion released in the first half of 2019 before the onset of COVID-19 as the market returned to growth.
How the money helps customers:
More than half of the proceeds of equity release (52%) were used to clear mortgages (45%) and manage unsecured debts (7%) while 23% was used to help family and friends – notably for help with house deposits as buyers rushed to beat the end of the Stamp Duty holiday.
These ‘big ticket’ expenses saw an average of £74,894 in borrowing being repaid and £72,520 being gifted.  Over half of people who used their equity to support wider family and friends used it to provide a house deposit (52%) or an early inheritance (59%) – some of which was no doubt also put towards property purchase.
The data revealed an increase in the amount of money used for property purchases – around 7% of the total value released went towards buying homes with the average customer taking out £115,068 to boost their buying power
Will Hale, CEO at Key, said: “The equity release market is benefiting from the success of the vaccination programme putting the country back on the delayed road to recovery with total value released up strongly and the number of plans taken out increasing.  
“Big ticket items like repaying outstanding mortgages, managing unsecured debt and helping family members get their foot on the property ladder is what motivates customers.  This is intergenerational fairness in action and equity release customers provided almost £1 million per day in deposits during the stamp duty holiday.
“Drawdown plans remain dominant and with over 710 different products on the market, those who choose equity release to manage their borrowing benefit from more flexibility than ever – including the opportunity to make ongoing interest and fee free capital repayments.  That said, customers need to speak to a specialist adviser who can help them make smart sustainable choices around if, when and how to borrow in retirement.”
How plans are used
Around 71% of customers took out drawdown plans in the first half of the year with customers taking an initial average amount of £56,744 and customers reserving another £666.4 million for future use.
During the six months the data shows 14,589 existing customers returned to take out an average £13,765 to support their retirement finances and the number returning to take out further money is expected to continue to grow.
Across the regions:
Key’s Market Monitor, which analyses data reflecting the whole market, shows that every region apart from Northern Ireland saw the value of property wealth released increase. London recorded the biggest increase at 74% while Wales recorded a 42.1% rise and another seven regions saw double digit gains.
Wales recorded the biggest rise in plan sales at 24.1% followed by London on 22.6% and a total of seven out of the 12 regions saw increases in plan sales.
The strength of the housing market in the South East and London meant those regions accounted for just over £1 billion of all equity released - more than half the total across the UK during the six months - despite accounting for only 34% of plans sold. The table below shows the breakdown across the country:
Region Number of plans - 2021 HI YOY Change Value of equity released 2021 H1 (£ million) YOY Change
South East 4,856 -0.5% £561.982 +29.4%
London 2,160 +22.6% £438.906 +74%
South West 2,412 +6.5% £223.089 +29.7%
West Midlands 1,641 -7.4% £113.558 +7.1%
North West 2,092
£135.502 +31%
East Midlands 1,668 +7.2% £117.025 +27.1%
East Anglia 1,185 -12.8% £93.516 +1.3%
Yorkshire & The Humber 1,437 +1.9% £82.944 +12.4%
Scotland 1,096 -1.5% £64.505 +10.3%
Wales 1,075 +24.1% £61.908 +42.1%
North East 718 +1.2% £44.356 +34.4%
Northern Ireland 105 -45.2% £4.636 -49.7%
UK 20,445 +2.9% £1,941.932 +32.1%
Anyone looking to release equity from their home can get Key’s independent guide to equity release by calling 0800 531 6027 or visiting https://www.keyadvice.co.uk/equity-release/is-it-right-for-me
Notes to Editors
* Key market data for 2021 H1. The Monitor uses Key’s data to reflect the market as a whole. The data reflects both members and non-members of the Equity Release Council and provides the most detailed analysis of the equity release sector.  The figures reflect new customers and the equity they released rather than any ongoing withdrawals via products such as drawdown. House price data is from https://www.nationwide.co.uk/-/media/MainSite/documents/about/house-price-index/2021/Jun_Q2_2021.pdf
For more information or to request a case study, please contact:
Lee Blackwell
Director of Public Relations and Public Affairs
Key Group
E-mail: [email protected]
Rachel Mann
Key Group
07384 511269
E-mail: [email protected]
Citigate Dewe Rogerson
Kevan Reilly
07977 550913
E-mail: [email protected]
About Key
  • Part of Key Group, Key is the UK’s largest independent equity release adviser – committed to high levels of customer service and the belief that good advice is key to ensuring people make smart sustainable choices around how they use their housing equity.
  • In 2019, Key split its advice proposition into separate brands – Key Equity Release, offering fee free advice on more than 80 equity release products and The Equity Release Experts, which provides a whole of market service. This evolution is designed to offer customers real choice as to the service that’s right for them without compromising on quality.
  • With over 70 industry and consumer awards under their belt, the Key team offer advice on equity release, later life mortgages and retirement interest-only products.  The company also provides support with estate planning including wills and lasting power of attorneys.
  • Key is committed to putting customers at the heart of what it does and has a score of 4.9 / 5.0 from over 16,000 scores on the independent review site, Trustpilot. 
  • Key is committed to being independent, transparent, and straightforward.
Back to News