Eq­uity re­lease could be key to im­prov­ing your home

Rutherglen Reformer - - News -

The num­ber of plan­ning ap­pli­ca­tions for home im­prove­ments such as loft and base­ment con­ver­sions has jumped by 26 per cent across Bri­tain, re­search from Hal­i­fax In­sur­ance shows.

The fig­ures, which cover 2012-2016, also show that the typ­i­cal price paid by home movers for a prop­erty has surged by about 40 per cent.

This price hike, along with trans­ac­tion fees and steep mov­ing costs, is putting peo­ple off climb­ing the prop­erty lad­der, with more than half of home­own­ers say­ing they would rather make home im­prove­ments.

Although home im­prove­ments can be a cheaper route to achiev­ing a dream home, they still come at a cost. But if you’re aged 55 or over, un­lock­ing some of the prop­erty wealth from your home us­ing an eq­uity re­lease plan, is a popular way to fund home im­prove­ments.

Ac­cord­ing to lead­ing over-55s financial ad­vis­ers Key Re­tire­ment, the main rea­son peo­ple re­lease prop­erty wealth is to fund home im­prove­ments, with 64 per cent us­ing the cash this way.

Other rea­sons for re­leas­ing eq­uity were to clear debts, with three in 10 pen­sion­ers us­ing the cash boost this way, and a fur­ther 23 per cent used it to re­pay their mort­gage. More than a fifth used it to help rel­a­tives.

Key’s Mar­ket Mon­i­tor found that prop­erty wealth boosted the standard of liv­ing for pen­sion­ers in Scot­land by more than £46.6mil­lion in the first half of this year.

That’s a 20 per cent rise com­pared with the same pe­riod last year.

Re­tired Scot­tish home­own­ers made about £45,000 tax-free each on av­er­age by cashing in on their homes dur­ing this time.

Dean Mirfin, tech­ni­cal direc­tor at Key Re­tire­ment, says: “Eq­uity re­lease is a real al­ter­na­tive for over-55s who are see­ing tra­di­tional re­tire­ment in­come so­lu­tions squeezed by his­tor­i­cally low in­ter­est rates, and pen­sion in­comes hit by his­tor­i­cally low an­nu­ity rates.”

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