A year of growth for equity release

Equity release is poised for a year of growth in 2013 according to the latest Equity Release Council survey results. The top prediction for the year ahead from nearly half of members was innovative products attracting a greater number of consumers. This is a clear call for providers to be creative and produce innovative products for a wide range of needs.

For four in ten council members the sunny outlook included expectations of market growth and improved public understanding of the equity release for 2013. With the Equity Release Council recently announcing its membership has surpassed 250 providers, advisers and solicitors, the success of the council is undoubtedly linked to the rise in market confidence, upholding the principles and standards set out to protect consumers of equity release and ensure excellence of advice.

The increasing appeal of equity release is also closely tied to the financial challenges faced by UK, and the evolving environment of retirement planning. Over 60% of council members see the ability of equity release to fulfil a growing consumer need as its key strength, while nearly half cite changing retirement requirements as a crucial contributor. With the cap on elderly care fees and single tier pensions not coming into force until 2017, the squeeze on current pensioner's income is very real and only expected to tighten in the near future.

As increasing numbers approach their later years clouded in financial uncertainty, equity release can offer a practical alternative to selling property or falling back on state support. Unlocking equity tied up in property can ease financial troubles while allowing pensioners to remain in their own home. Before undertaking an equity release scheme it's essential to seek out expert advice from independent financial specialists as well as legal advisors. ERSA's membership of the Equity Release Council ensures its members adhere to the Standards and Advisory Board's requirements, designed to protect consumers' best interests and allow over-55s to engage advisers with confidence.

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