Equity Release Latest News

Archive for March, 2013

Equity Release Schemes Available In Scotland

Thursday, March 28th, 2013

It’s been a long time coming, as the song goes but Scotland is at last catching up with the rest of the UK when it comes to the uptake of equity release schemes.

 

The reason the Scottish equity release market has not grown as quickly in the past as the rest of the UK is that a lot of Scottish homeowners have very close family ties and traditions and want to leave their property and estate as inheritance for their families and have been happy in the past to either down size or make do.

 

One of the common objections to equity release in Scotland was the loss of inheritance for the family. However, with the new range of equity release mortgages this loss of potential inheritance can be resigned to the past.

 

In the last year alone, many changes have taken place within the equity release market. All equity release schemes Equity Release Supermarket recommend still have the ‘SHIP’ standard – a ‘no-negative equity guarantee’ built into them. SHIP has now come under the auspices of the Equity Release Council in maintaining this important protection feature.

 

Latest equity release schemes

In addition to the no negative equity guarantee, new innovative plans have been introduced with options such as the Inheritance Protection Guarantee, where a percentage of the property value can be ring fenced to protect the family inheritance. This provides peace of mind in protecting a fixed final amount of the property value to be left as an inheritance for the family at the end of the day.

 

Hodge Lifetime have recently brought out a roll-up lifetime mortgage plan where they will allow up to 10% of the capital borrowed to be repaid each year by cheque, again a way to protect the loan from the effects of the roll up of interest. Not only can the interest be repaid, but additionally a proportion of the capital by paying the maximum 10%pa in repayments. Effectively this renders the Hodge Lifetime scheme a capital & repayment equity release mortgage!

 

Stonehaven have also moved into Scotland with an interest only lifetime mortgage. The Stonehaven Interest Select plans operate on an interest only basis with a balance that remains constant throughout the mortgage term. This continues so as long as the monthly payments are made, resulting in a loan that will never be more than the initial amount at the start of the plan.

 

These Stonehaven equity release schemes in Scotland are eventually repaid from the sale of the property. The interest rates are currently the lowest we have seen from Stonehaven since they started over 6 years ago at just 5.99%.

 

Scottish interest only mortgage enquiries

From the number of interest only lifetime mortgage enquiries Equity Release Supermarket now receive in Scotland, many people have also noticed this, and taken advantage of these low interest rates which are then fixed for life. Providing security, not only for inheritance purposes, but also in fixed lifetime monthly payments is something that the over 55’s in Scotland are looking for.

 

Equity release plans are not only weathering the economic downturn, they are offering a much needed lifeline to homeowners in this time of austerity. It may not be the best option for everyone in Scotland and by seeking independent financial advice it is important you also consider any alternatives beforehand.

 

Nevertheless, if you are sitting with a lot of equity in your home and you are over 55 years of age why deny yourself a good lifestyle in retirement, when unlocking some of the equity in the home could help make life a lot more comfortable for you, or your loved ones.

 

In this growing equity release market with new providers and new plans coming along it is more important than ever to get the correct advice from a specialist dealing in equity release such as the Equity Release Supermarket.

 

If you wish to find out more about any of the plans mentioned then do not hesitate in making contact with the author of this article – Nigel Hall who would be more than happy to help.

 

To request a free initial consultation on the range of equity release schemes available in Scotland call Nigel Hall on 07553 408010 or email nigel@equityreleasesupermarket.co.uk

 

How Does Equity Release Work?

Wednesday, March 27th, 2013

Equity release schemes have risen in the popularity stakes over the past 12 months. With regular articles in the tabloids, and increasing government awareness, lifetime mortgages have certainly raised the bar. But how does equity release actually work in the whole scheme of things, and why has it become such topical subject matter for those looking for a comfortable lifestyle in retirement?

 

Equity release workings

Primarily equity release is available to home owners where the youngest person on the deeds is at least aged 55. Equity release works by allowing eligible people to raise tax free cash from the equity tied up in their home. The amount that can be released is based on an age-related ascending percentage of the value of the home. In other words, the older you are, the more you can raise!

 

For example a single person in good health, aged 65, with a property value of £250,000 could raise a maximum of 30% of the property value. This would mean a maximum equity release of upto £75,000 with Aviva.

Even better, is the fact there are now impaired life schemes that offer ‘enhanced’ rates to people who are not as fit and healthy as they used to be and these schemes increase the percentage that can be drawn.

Therefore, if the same person was a smoker with high blood pressure, having diabetes & a history of heart attacks could now release upto £115,500 on the Partnership enhanced lifetime mortgage scheme.

 

Popular uses for equity release

The money raised from any equity release scheme can be used for any legal purpose from clearing credit card balances and existing mortgages, to helping children or grandchildren with deposits to climb onto the property ladder. However, many would be treating themselves to some lifestyle indulgences such as a new car, world cruise or home improvements.

 

Today’s equity release schemes

The modern format of Equity Release started in the mid 1990s with Hodge Lifetime (part of Julian Hodge Bank), Norwich Union (now Aviva) & Northern Rock (now Papilio UK) with a simple roll up lifetime mortgage.

 

Today there are three basic equity release schemes:-

 

1)      Roll up Lifetime Mortgage

This type of scheme has a few variations but basically the borrower takes an initial tax free lump sum, makes no monthly payments and the accrued interest is added to the loan and compounds annually.

 

The main variation to this is the “drawdown lifetime mortgage“ scheme. This is where only the immediately required amount is drawn down and a reserve cash facility is then offered with the remainder. No interest is accrued on this drawdown facility until it is taken in the future. The advantage here by taking it in smaller amounts is that interest is compounded at a much slower rate, than if it had be taken all at once.

 

Another variation of a roll up plan is offered through Hodge Lifetime on a roll-up basis. Hodge’s flexible repayment plan has an option to repay up to 10% of the original amount borrowed annually without any early repayment charges. Hodge also offer a unique ‘downsizing protection’ option whereby after five years, if the property is then sold and the owner moves & downsizes house, then no early repayment charges apply.  A great solution for many who cannot sell now, but may do so in the future.

 

 

2)      Interest Only Lifetime Mortgage Plans

There are two lenders currently offering this type of interest only scheme – Stonehaven and more2Life. Both schemes are fairly simple whereby a lump sum is withdrawn and the monthly interest is paid in order to maintain the balance outstanding level throughout the term.

 

This method has proved appealing to parents who are keen to minimise any inheritance reduction for their children. In recent times, since the withdrawal of the Halifax Retirement Home Plan lifetime interest only mortgages have become increasingly popular. Both these Equity Release Interest Only schemes have the added safety feature that should the monthly payments become too much (one applicant dying and their pension income reducing) then it can revert to a roll up equity release plan, where no payments are required thereafter.

 

3)      The Home Reversion Plan

This is now the least popular type of equity release mortgage. Nevertheless, it can prove to be the best advice in certain scenarios. The workings are that the homeowner(s) must have a minimum age of 65. They have the option of selling part, or all of their property to the reversion provider and then lives in that property, usually rent free, for the rest of their life. In truth, this is usually only appropriate when there are no beneficiaries to the estate, or they wish to leave a guaranteed percentage of the final value of the house to their children.

 

Home reversion schemes only account for less than 5% of the market these days. The market has seen a few withdrawals from the market by lenders such as Aviva and Retirement Plus. The three remaining home reversion providers are Hodge Lifetime, New Life & Bridgewater.

 

About the author

The author of this article is Barry Adnams, who is a senior equity release adviser at Equity Release Supermarket.

Barry is aware of what a monumental decision taking equity release can be. He is a traditional adviser that would always advocate a home meeting with family involvement. Barry offers an initial cost free ‘face to face’ appointment and likes to include as many family members as possible to be present to discuss whether taking equity release is the right option, or not.

 

If you want to benefit from the experience Barry has to offer and understand how equity release works further, then please contact Barry Adnams at Equity Release Supermarket, on 07989 281108 for a free initial consultation. Alternatively please email barry@equityreleasesupermarket.co.uk.

How A Drawdown Lifetime Mortgage Provides Insurance for the Future

Thursday, March 14th, 2013

Suddenly you’re approaching retirement and you’re left wondering – ‘where did the years go?’

Realisation is dawning on you all too clearly that from hereon in you will be reliant on a fixed income, your savings may start diminishing and your future anticipated costs are anything but guaranteed!

 

The question therefore is how do you protect yourself & family from those unforeseen costs that might suddenly arise? Well, there’s good news and bad news, and also a possible solution….so please read on.

 

Firstly, the good news.

The population of England and Wales is living longer than before and the most common age at death in 2010 was 85 for men and 89 for women, compared to 77 and 84 respectively in 1980. Thirty years ago there were 2,280 centenarians, today the figure is 11,610. Indeed this trend is set to continue and we are entering the age of the super centenarian (110). That’s the good news!

 

Now, for the bad news.

The basic state pension is currently £107.45 per week increased each April by the highest of either the average growth in wages, the Consumer Price Index or 2.5%. Yes, the new flat rate of pension of £144 per week will be payable from April 2017, but not for those already drawing the state pension.

 

And what happens to a surviving spouse or partner when they are widowed? Just the basic state pension and possibly the bereavement allowance up to £106 per week  for the first year depending upon National Insurance contributions and the age of your spouse on death. Added to this is possibly a reduced private or occupational pension for the surviving spouse (usually the widow) if you are lucky enough to have contributed to a pension plan during your working lives.

 

So how will you cope with the cost of home improvements, car repairs, increasing utility bills, let alone any care costs? And how do you provide for the financial security of your spouse after you have gone? A widow could easily have in excess of a decade to support herself on a reduced income.

 

The Possible Solution.

This article might have given you the impression that my job is to go around depressing people, but in reality my job is to ensure that my clients are fully aware of how they can use their major asset – their home, as a form of insurance against future financial difficulties.

 

Most people are familiar with a mortgage. A Lifetime Mortgage applies the same principles, however instead of running for a fixed term, will actually run for the rest of your life. It therefore allows you to borrow until the remaining owner dies or goes permanently in to care.

 

Types of Lifetime Mortgage

The most common equity release plan is on the roll-up lifetime mortgage basis, whereby NO monthly interest payments are required and the full repayment of the mortgage is made from the sale of the home on the last survivor’s death.

 

However, with the latest innovation in the equity release market, more lenders will now allow you to pay off the full, or even partial monthly interest payments if you want to keep the eventual loan lower than would otherwise have been on a roll-up basis. The interest only lifetime mortgage provides a flexible option to carry into retirement and can now be obtained on a drawdown basis with more2life.

 

All these Lifetime Mortgages are portable if you want to move house in the future and, if leaving an inheritance is important to you, you can protect a percentage of the eventual sale proceeds of your home. All these lifetime mortgages provide a guarantee that you would never leave a debt to anyone by way of ALL lenders providing a ‘no negative equity guarantee’.

 

The Drawdown Lifetime Mortgage

The major attraction with a Lifetime Mortgage is the “drawdown” option. This feature will provide you with a lifetime borrowing limit but does not commit you to borrowing the whole facility immediately. The drawdown lifetime mortgage was therefore borne with flexibility in mind.

 

Before drawdown schemes became available from the likes of Prudential, Just Retirement & Hodge Lifetime, customers only had the lump sum option. Given this cash amount needed was to last them at least 3-5 years, many decided to opt for a larger amount than would otherwise have been necessary. Languishing in a bank account & receiving less interest than paying on the equity release scheme was not best advice. Hence, the introduction of the drawdown equity release plan enabling retirees to take a lower initial sum, but taking extra funds in the future whenever they required.

 

As an example, a husband and wife aged 78 and 72 with a property valued at £250,000 could have a maximum loan limit of £52,500 but only start with the minimum loan of £10,000.

Interest would only accrue on the initial £10,000 loan and the balance of £42,500 would be readily accessible if they needed it and could be taken in stages. This is an excellent way of providing security for future unforeseen expenditure and would be available for the surviving spouse to use should he or she be alone and on a reduced income.

 

In should be noted that certain equity release companies cannot guarantee the drawdown reserve facility for life. Companies such as Aviva do retain the right to withdraw the drawdown facility under certain major events which would render them unable to fulfil their drawdown requirements. However, there are still companies available that will guarantee the reserve facility. By opting for the guarantee, you may pay a slightly higher interest rate, nevertheless you may feel more secure knowing these funds are available for a minimum of 15 years ahead. With living in such uncertain times, this could be a blessing.

 

This ”Lifetime Mortgage Drawdown” option, which only commits you to borrowing a minimum of £10,000, is sensible insurance for the future and if you would like to discuss the matter in more detail then please do contact myself – Mike Vicary on 07795 195302 or email mike@equityreleasesupermarket.co.uk

The Birth of the Equity Release Calculator UK Style

Wednesday, March 13th, 2013

Equity Release Calculator UKThe improved confidence in the equity release sector has been borne by the industry providing accessibility to flexible and competitive products. Additionally, by introducing clarity, regulation and new online tools such as equity release UK calculators, customers can now partake in their own means of research to obtain information. These factors combined have seen a market spike in equity release enquiries, with an unsurpassed  level of interest than ever before.

 

This openness about equity release has allayed many fears. The negative influences of the past have been quashed when lifetime mortgage schemes & home reversion plans weren’t clearly understood by all. Although these products were fully regulated, they had never been embraced as a source of genuine retirement provision for the over 55’s.

 

Granted further innovation has been effected in recent times by companies such as Hodge Lifetime with their flexible repayment option, but it has only taken until then for confidence to take hold. Additionally, Stonehaven have gone against the grain with its range of interest only lifetime mortgage plans but this has been some time in the making.

 

This has all come about by the equity release lenders playing a leading part.

 

However, recognition must go to the various equity release brokers who have introduced their own means of building confidence in the equity release process. The brokerage sector has also adapted by devising tools and applications to help customers understand different products and find out how they would work in their personal circumstances. One of the most significant of these applications is the equity release calculator. Let’s look at equity release UK calculators and how they have made things much easier for the customer.

 

Until a few years ago, that is before the advent of free and instant equity release UK calculators, customers who wanted to find out the maximum amount they could potentially release given their age(s) and property valuation, had to literally go from door to door to each provider for an answer. This was an awfully tedious process simply to obtain the answer to a very basic question.

 

But then some providers and independent companies like Equity Release Supermarket started to offer the online equity release calculator. The idea was simple – users had to enter some basic information, including age and property value, so that the calculator could go through different equity release plans to find out the maximum potential release for the given age and valuation.

 

This not only made it much easier for customers to understand how equity release plans could work for their particular situation, but also benefitted providers by making the process easier and attracting more customers. At the same time, companies like Equity Release Supermarket that offer independent advice could inform customers quickly and efficiently through this simple free online service. Confidence was starting to return.

 

With the latest technology, retirees can now browse on their laptops, Ipad’s, Iphone’s, androids, Mac’s or the trusted desktop PC within the comfort of their own home and gather all the information they need at their fingertips. With the biggest growth area of the internet being the ‘silver surfers’ what better way to encourage online growth for the over 55’s and at the same time save hours and cost on the telephone.

 

Today, equity release UK calculators are commonly available, and most providers and advice companies have their own calculator on their website. However, beware of those who purport to provide a calculation, but merely gather personal data for marketing purposes. A true online equity release or lifetime mortgage calculator won’t need to hide any maximum calculation results for their own gain.

 

Upfront and personal, as they say, should be the key to a quality equity release calculator!

 

Taking the calculations one step further are some independent equity release information companies, for instance CompareEquityRelease.com who now offer not only the standard terms, but also a calculation free of charge, based on an impaired life. This means that should any potential applicant suffer from any qualifying illnesses, then a greater maximum lump sum could be expected. The enhanced lifetime mortgage calculator has therefore also evolved.

 

Furthermore, with the introduction of the interest only lifetime mortgage deals, new interest only lifetime mortgage calculators have been developed. Therefore, people looking to repay some or all of the interest charged can now benefit for the latest tools on the market to ascertain how much these schemes could possible lend. Technology evidently has had its part to play in the development of breeding confidence within the equity release market.

 

These new breed of equity release advice centres do seem to offer free, transparent and user friendly equity release UK calculators that show an unbiased & independent picture of the maximum equity release amount you could release from your property, healthy or otherwise.

 

To calculate the maximum equity release currently available based on your own personal situation click here or call 0800 678 5159 to speak to an independent equity release adviser.

 
Ask us a question

captcha