The Equity Release Council (The Council) has today confirmed that Nationwide has joined its membership after announcing its entrance into the lifetime mortgage market. By joining The Council, Nationwide indicates its support for the robust industry standards, rules and guidance that are the bedrock of the modern equity release market and underpin the provision of products and advice to consumers.
These include product safeguards such as the certainty of a guaranteed fixed or capped rate of interest for the lifetime of a loan; a ‘no negative equity guarantee’; homeowners’ right to remain in their property for life with no obligation to make regular payments; and the right to independent, face-to-face legal guidance as part of consumers’ decision-making process. The announcement comes at a time of record demand from over-55 homeowners to use their housing wealth to support their finances in later life, as the range of available product options and flexibilities also grows.
The third quarter of 2017 saw £824m of property wealth accessed through equity release plans, up by 44% year-on-year from £572m in Q3 2016. New customer numbers also increased 34% from 7,414 to 9,905 over the same period.
As a result, the market is on course to record double-digit growth in lending activity for the sixth successive year.
Nigel Waterson, Chairman of the Equity Release Council, comments:
“We are delighted to announce Nationwide has become a member of The Council, and welcome its commitment to the standards and safeguards that are fundamental to consumer confidence in today’s market.
“This development will bring further choice to a growing, innovative market where consumers’ product options have more than doubled in the last three years.¹ It will also help to raise general awareness among UK homeowners about equity release as a mainstream option to consider as part of their later life financial plans.
“A decades-long commitment to promoting high standards of products and advice has established a safe and reliable equity release market, where homeowners can access their housing wealth for a wide range of purposes. The changing landscape of retirement in the UK increasingly calls for a joined-up approach across different areas of financial services, so people can make decisions based on all their available savings and assets. “We welcome this latest sign of closer links between the residential and lifetime mortgage markets. Housing equity is often people’s greatest asset and should be on everyone’s checklist to consider as a potential source of finance in later life”