Equity release could be key to improving your home
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.”