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Posts Tagged ‘Early Repayment Charges’

Stonehaven Equity Release Re-Launch With 8 Year Fixed Early Repayment Charges

Monday, March 16th, 2015

Stonehaven Equity Release schemesWhen many equity release providers are competing directly in using their lifetime mortgage interest rates, Stonehaven have decided to compete in a different field by taking the bold step of moving away from Gilt-based early repayment charges (ERC’s) & introducing a fixed penalty basis covering the first eight years of the equity release loan.

With effect from 16th March 2015, Stonehaven will move its whole lump sum & interest only lifetime mortgage range of plans over to an 8 year fixed early repayment charge of 5% in the first 5 years, 3% in years 6-8 and none in the 9th year & thereafter.

 

Background to Equity Release Early Repayment Charges

Due to the nature of the product – ‘Lifetime’ Mortgage, the plans have been designed to run for the rest of the homeowners life. This can create uneasiness for some people taking out equity release schemes in retirement as they cannot always say with certainty what their future plans entail with regards to their property.

 

Equity release early repayment charges have historically been a mixture of fixed penalty, gilt based, Bank of England base rate related and even long term interest rates called SWAP rates. The majority of equity release schemes across the market today is predominantly linked to government gilts. This can be in the form of an individually selected gilt such as Aviva’s, which is based on the age of the youngest homeowner, or follow an index of gilts such as the FTSE UK Gilts 15 Year Yield Index with Just Retirement.

 

These gilt related penalties on paper can look extreme given that Aviva can charge upto 25% of the amount repaid dependent upon the gilts yield falling from inception. Additionally, companies such as Just Retirement & Pure Retirement can charge a maximum of 20% of the fall in the FTSE UK Gilts 15 Year Yield Index. Therefore, the nature of gilts leads to uncertainty of their future levels & consequently any prediction regards their future level is unknown & cannot therefore be relied upon for early repayment purposes.

 

Currently, only one equity release company offers the certainty of knowing exactly what the future penalty could potential be; this company is LV= (Liverpool Victoria). Charging 5% for the first 5 years of the amount repaid & then 3% in the next 5 years, they actually have no early repayment charges after 10 years. This have given them a niche position within the equity release marketplace.

 

Stonehaven’s Move to Fixed Equity Release Early Repayment Charges

However, LV= equity release now have fresh competition and this is the beauty of where the equity release industry is right now. Competition is driving this market forward and its with such innovations & product development that is going to extend the volume of lending in 2015, to beyond the £14 billion released in 2014.

 

Stonehaven have been considering this move previously, however with their takeover by MGM, its plans were put on hold. With a new team behind Stonehaven now, they have obviously decided the time is now right to introduce  fixed penalty equity release plan to the market. It will be interesting to see how these new fixed ERC’s are perceived. Historically, applying fixed rate early repayment charges can come at a cost and this is usually borne in the equity release interest rate with an extra levy on it.

 

At present Stonehaven have not indicated any changes to their interest rates with the lowest currently being the Stonehaven Interest Select Lite plan at 5.46% monthly (5.87% representative APR). Therefore, the fixed penalty charges look to have been absorbed into the current equity release deals on record.

 

So for anyone considering the equity release & uncertain regards whether an equity release scheme will be required over the longer term, the new equity release early repayment charge from Stonehaven could be a viable option to consider. Providing fixed, transparent & easy to understand  ERC’s with just 5% penalty in the first 5 years, 3% for the next two & zero after the end of the 8th year, Stonehaven have taken over LV=’s mantle of potentially the best early repayment charging system available in the equity release market today!

 

Further Information

To learn more about Stonehaven’s range of products attracting the new 8 year fixed penalty, please contact the Equity Release Supermarket team on 0800 783 9652 or email mark@equityreleasesupermarket.co.uk.

How Low Can Equity Release Interest Rates Go?

Sunday, January 25th, 2015

Aviva's lowest ever equity release interest rateHaving been advising on Equity Release since the halcyon days of Norwich Union, I have seen a continual, albeit gradual decrease in the level of equity release interest rates. The latest news has it that Aviva will be aggressively reducing their interest rates today –  Monday 26th January 2015 to an unprecedented lowest rate ever, starting from just 5.13%!

 

So what are the factors behind this interest rate drop, given the rest of the equity release companies trail so far behind Aviva in competitiveness?

 

History of Equity Release Interest Rates

Equity release interest rates historically don’t tend to move that regularly, or by very much. It tends to be market forces that dictate how competitively they wish to be & where they wish to be positioned in the market. Going back the early days of equity release schemes, particularly plans from Northern Rock (now Papilio) and Norwich Union (now Aviva), their early interest rates were in excess of 8%. However, comparatively mainstream mortgage rates were also higher at that time and therefore equity release plans were not considered as expensive as they look today.

 

Time to Consider Interest Rate Diversification?

However, the difference between mainstream mortgage rates and equity release interest rates is the fact that equity release schemes historically have a fixed interest rate for life. Residential mortgages don’t & therefore can be re-appraised frequently which enables the best interest rate to be achieved each time.

 

Perhaps it’s time that equity release providers took time to consider this fixed lifetime interest rate offering? Afterall, the reason that traditional equity release schemes have a fixed rate is to act as a safety net due to the compounding effect of interest as no payments are normally necessary, or permitted. This also aides the protection of their insurance policy, which is the ‘no negative equity guarantee’.

 

How Can Equity Release Lenders Reduce Interest Rates Further?

New Voluntary Repayment Plans from the likes of Aviva, Stonehaven & Hodge Lifetime accept repayments of upto 10%pa with NO penalty and therefore if managed correctly cancel out the potential compounding effect of interest. Therefore, would it not make sense for these lifetime mortgage lenders to offer a reviewable interest rate every so many years? A reviewable interest rate could have a bearing on the nature of early repayment charges where so many equity release companies use the unpredictable nature of government gilts as their barometer. Retirees are looking for greater flexibility these days and a change in structure could certainly assist.

 

Catering to the New Silver Surfer Generation

More retirees are becoming financially savvy, particularly those arriving at retirement still owning interest only mortgages. This crop of mortgagors have experienced the variances in interest rates & the different types of rates available during their mortgage years. For instance, is it not time for a standard variable equity release interest rate, or a tracker equity release interest rate? Why not, if the interest or upto 10% of the original capital is to be repaid each year, then why is it necessary to have a lifetime fixed interest rate?

 

If the equity release market is set to expand it needs further innovation & development of its equity release schemes. Therefore, should the forecast for future interest rates be historically low, then it would make sense to consider the options of tracker, discounted or variable interest rates. Perhaps the future of the no negative equity guarantee can be questionable given this has an effect of increasing the interest rate by upto 0.5%?

Why not have the option of choosing whether to include the no negative equity guarantee, or not. With that would come the choice of two representative interest rates; one including the guarantee & a lower interest rate without it. These options could all help to reduce the future interest rates of equity release plans & help the market move forward & expand.

 

A strong case in question for the optional inclusion of the no negative equity guarantee would be where retirees are committed to making repayments & managing the future balance of their lifetime mortgage scheme. Clearly advice of the consequences of not including this guarantee should always be provided, but we shouldn’t be treating the majority of equity release consumers with kid gloves. Equity releasers can themselves make informed decisions based on the facts & advice provided. As long as the adviser is giving quality impartial equity release advice then why can’t the industry open up & start becoming more diverse in its thought process & product innovation!

 

New Aviva Flexible Lifetime Mortgage Interest Rate

As stated earlier Aviva are to significantly reduce their minimum interest rate on their Flexible Lifetime Mortgage Plan. Equity Release Supermarket is able to obtain a lower interest rate than mainstream equity release advisers. This is set to continue from 26th January 2015 with the reduction in the minimum interest rate as calculated by the Aviva flex tool calculation. The lowest equity release interest rate with Aviva is determined by personal criteria, such as age, property value & also health.

 

Consider the following equity release scenario: –

Mr & Mrs Chambers are aged 67 & 64 respectively & own a property valued at £250,000 which is unencumbered. Unfortunately, Mrs Chambers had cancer last year and they now realised how important it is for them to enjoy their retirement. They wish to go on a cruise, carry out home improvements and release approximately £30,000 with access to a future cash reserve facility.

 

After conducting research with Equity Release Supermarket they were recommended the Aviva Flexi Plan with an interest rate of just 5.13%pa (5.33% representative APR). This recommendation was borrowing £30,000 & having a further cash reserve facility of £33,000 for possible future use.

 

Aviva’s Lowest Ever Equity Release Interest Rate To-Date

This 5.13% enhanced lifetime mortgage rate is the lowest ever equity release interest rate that any home equity release company has made available in the history of equity release & presents many opportunities for retirees to consider their future finances: –

 

  1. Those people with interest only mortgages – where lenders are demanding repayment as the end term has been reached & they are not prepared to extend can benefit from these interest rate reductions. By switching onto the Aviva Flexi Lifetime Mortgage Plan they could consolidate onto a mortgage for life, at a low fixed interest rate, thus enabling them to budget accordingly knowing the interest to be charged in the future.
  1. Existing equity release customers – who are on interest rates that are over 6%pa should consider whether to remain with their existing lender or switch equity release plans. By taking a lower interest rate would mean less interest charged & hence either a lower future balance, or less interest payments to maintain control over the balance. There are factors to consider such as potential early repayment charges & set up costs, however this is a calculation your Equity Release Supermarket adviser can arrange & analyse for you.
  1. Anyone over the age of 55 – who has been contemplating taking a release of equity, but maybe waiting for the optimum interest rate or occasion to apply for it. With the various lifetime mortgage schemes available now including interest only, drawdown & voluntary repayment schemes, the equity release market has never been so competitive.

 

So why have Aviva aggressively reduced their interest rates?

Word has it there are new lenders set to enter the equity release marketplace. With new names entering the market such as L&G and Santander, plus More2life have new funding available, Aviva are sure to find new competitors in their space. Perhaps they are trying to gather as much momentum & market share as possible now before they come under pressure?

 

We have already seen unprecedented movements in equity release interest rates so early in 2015. More2life’s Enhanced Lifetime Mortgage & Interest Choice plans have seen rate reductions, followed by Stonehaven’s Interest Select range in response to keep their market position above More2life. Whatever equity release 2015 has to hold its going to be exciting time and one for any future lifetime mortgage customer can benefit from with the lowest equity release interest rates ever seen.

 

Should you wish to request an Aviva Flexible Lifetime Mortgage quote & find out how low your equity release interest rate could go, please contact Mark Gregory on Freephone 0800 783 9652 or email me at mark@equityreleasesupermarket.co.uk

 

Further information on equity release –

 

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Steps to Finding the Best Equity Release Scheme

Sunday, December 7th, 2014

Best equity release schemeEach year the equity release industry celebrates its achievements at the Merchants Taylors Hall with its version of the Equity Release Awards 2014. This year in particular, equity release schemes have been taken out in record amounts & have led to unprecedented growth. This has been for a number of reasons, but primarily the innovation of new equity release plans from the likes of Aviva, Hodge Lifetime & lately Stonehaven.

 

However, it is the Aviva Flexible Lifetime Mortgage Plan that here at Equity Release Supermarket has seen the greatest impact & has helped many of our clients achieve their retirement goals. It was therefore no surprise that Aviva won the category of Best Lifetime Mortgage provider in 2014. This followed a series of enhancements to their lifetime mortgage plans this year, coupled with the lowest equity release interest rates, currently starting as low as 5.63% (5.83% representative APR).

 

These successful changes include:

  • Allowing clients to voluntarily repay up to 10% of the original capital borrowed each year, in up to 4 installments with a minimum of £500 a time.
  • On joint life equity release cases they now allow the surviving partner to sell their home and repay the scheme without penalty as long as it’s within 3 years of the first person dying or entering long term care.

 

Thanks to these extra features, Aviva has increased their market share even further but despite winning their equity release award it would be wrong to view their product as the best on the market for everyone. In order to find the best equity release scheme for you it’s important to get independent, whole of market advice from a company like Equity Release Supermarket.

 

Equity Release Supermarket’s philosophy is to spend valuable time to find out exactly what you’re goals are so that we can recommend the most appropriate scheme based specifically on these requirements. So, once we’ve gathered sufficient information based on your current situation, identified no alternative solutions exist, it is only then that we would enter the realms of recommending equity release schemes.

 

But how do we work out which equity release scheme is the ‘best’ plan for my clients? We consider a range of factors, such as:

  • Equity release interest rates
  • Maximum equity release calculation including maximum cash reserve facility
  • Early repayment charges
  • Set up costs
  • Flexible repayment options
  • Health and lifestyle factors for enhanced lifetime mortgage plans
  • Future retirement plans
  • Inheritance plans – attitude to risk

 

Seven Factors to Help Find the Best Equity Release Plan

Equity release schemes are constantly innovating and keeping up with their progress can be a minefield for those looking for the best equity release plan today. To help provide guidance on understanding the various aspects of equity release plans that can influence this decision, I have provided seven features and areas of research that Equity Release Supermarket advisers would analyze and discuss with you.

 

  1. Best Interest rates:

There are some excellent online comparison websites such as www.EquityReleaseSupermarket.co.uk where you can compare the best equity release deals in the market at any given time. The equity release comparison sites will currently highlight Aviva as offering some of the lowest interest rates for both drawdown lifetime mortgages and their lump sum counterparts.

However, simply offering the lowest lifetime mortgage interest rate may not make their scheme the ‘best’. Aviva do charge a higher interest rate to access the funds in any cash reserve facility than the initial rate and they cap the reserve amount if you initially release less than 50% of the overall loan amount. This may not therefore be suitable if you are looking to have a maximum cash reserve facility for your future retirement needs.

 

Therefore, it is down to your equity release adviser to assess & understand what your priorities are in leading to their recommendation of the best equity release scheme for you.

 

For instance, if you need to take the maximum equity release loan from your property, interest rates tend to be higher than the drawdown lifetime mortgage schemes. Hence, the ‘best’ scheme could depend on any of the other factors names above. The possible reason for the higher interest rate for the maximum equity releases could be the potential of invoking the no negative equity guarantee is likely to be greater the higher the release borrowed. This cost being passed on by way of the higher interest rate to compensate.

 

Currently, at the time of writing, the lowest lifetime mortgage interest rate is 4.75% (5.10% representative APR) which is the Hodge Retirement Mortgage. If you want to make monthly payments of interest to maintain a level balance, this scheme is excellent but it wouldn’t be the ‘best’ scheme if you don’t want to make any interest payments. As you can see, the lowest equity release interest rate alone does not determine it being the best scheme.

 

  1. Maximum Equity Release Plans

Equity Release Supermarket would always recommend that you only release the capital that you need, rather than releasing the maximum loan. This one area alone, in assessing the best equity release scheme, can have the greatest influence on the final inheritance for your children or beneficiaries. In fact, this aspect we find is where clients need to be guided carefully by their adviser, as many do not understand the consequences of taking too much equity from their home.

 

In fact, drawdown lifetime mortgage plans are now the most common form of equity release taken in 2014 & will surely be for equity release 2015 aswell. By taking the home equity plan funds in small staggered amounts, rather than all upfront makes practical sense for your own future balance & the inheritance for your beneficiaries. These drawdowns can be taken in little amounts as an initial £10,000, and then followed by smaller £1,000 tranches from the likes of Hodge Lifetime. This can be utilised to suit any future spending plans as & when they arise.

 

During my 15 years of advising clients on equity release, one of the most common queries I receive is ‘Can I access further funds?’

Let’s look at an example:

 

Margaret and Graham are both 70 and live in a bungalow worth £300,000. They want to be able to take regular holidays and buy a new car. In the future they’d like to gradually improve their property and supplement their income. My advice was to take an initial loan of £25,000 and set up a reserve facility. In order to work out the ‘best’ scheme for them we discussed whether the interest rate or the size of the reserve was more important to them. They opted for a larger amount of money on reserve. Therefore, after the initial loan – Pure Retirement offered a cash reserve of £83,000, while the Aviva Flexi Plan with a lower interest rate only offered a reserve of £48,000.The clients therefore opted for the Pure Retirement Drawdown Plan based on the future reserve facility.

 

Another important factor to a recent client was that she wanted the certainty that the funds available on reserve were guaranteed to be in place. Many lenders do not ‘guarantee’ the future of their drawdown facilities in case of change of circumstances, economic reasons or they just decide not to lend again in the future.

 

My client was concerned in case the lender withdrew her cash reserve funds in the future. In her circumstances LV= proved to be the best equity release scheme for her as they’re the only company to offer a guaranteed drawdown reserve, which is guaranteed to be in place for a minimum of 15 years.

 

  1. Best Early Repayment Charges (ERC’s)

Equity release schemes are designed as a lifetime commitment and are not aimed for short term borrowings or people who wish to repay the balance before the plan ends; on death or the last person moving into long term care. That said, there are a growing number of people who would possibly repay their equity release scheme early; due to change in circumstances, future health reasons or maybe family reasons. Therefore the ‘best’ scheme would be one that offered flexibility on early repayment charges over a limited number of years, either none at all or the lowest fixed rate possible if acceptable to the client.

 

An equity release company plan that has considered the topic of early repayment charges has been Hodge Lifetime. Two of their lifetime mortgage plans have been carefully thought out on this particular subject. The Hodge Lifetime Mortgage Plan allows homeowners the ability to downsize after 5 years of taking their plan & repay their lifetime mortgage with NO penalties. In fact even leading upto this 5 year period, should one downsize the penalty reduces by 1% each year; from 5% down to 0% over this duration.

 

The second Hodge product that assists with early repayment charges is the Hodge Retirement Mortgage. This product is an interest only lifetime mortgage and has a fixed interest rate for a period of 5 years. The Hodge Retirement Mortgage therefore mirrors this time by aligning the early repayment charges (ERC’s) to match the same term. Subsequently, the early repayment charges are just 5% for the first 5 years of the retirement mortgage term.

 

Most equity release lenders use government gilts as a measure in working out any potential ERC’s. This means that the early repayment penalty is variable and could be as high as 25% of the initial loan amount. For the standard lifetime mortgage plans, LV= are currently the only company who offer a fixed early repayment charge, which is 5% for the first 5 years and 3% from years 6 to 10. After the 10th year you can repay the scheme without penalty, so this may prove to be the ‘best’ scheme for some clients knowing what their future holds, or the Hodge Lifetime schemes should they have plans for moving house after 5 years.

 

  1. Equity Release Set Up Costs:

Typically the lowest set up costs doesn’t necessarily mean the ‘best’ plan, although keeping a check & comparing equity release set up costs is important for a number of reasons, particularly to save money! Why pay more to a broker for their advice fee when another company can advise on exactly the same plan, but for a lower cost.

 

Equity releases set up costs are made up of a series of fees levied by different parties to the equity release process. These consist of the valuation fee, lenders application fee, solicitors’ fees & your adviser’s advice fee.

 

Valuation fees vary between lenders, however through certain specialist brokers such as here at Equity Release Supermarket there are now many lenders that will offer ‘free’ valuations by process you application through us.

 

Lender application fees can also vary, with some either being added or deducted from the release. Remember if the application fee is added this will cost more over the long run if the interest is to compound with no repayments made. The Hodge Retirement Mortgage application fee is the highest at £995, but they do offer the lowest interest rate. Pure Retirement offer a cash-back on some of their plans which can cover all of the set up costs, but their interest rate isn’t the lowest. Just Retirement offer one of the lowest admin fees at £500, but not necessarily the lowest interest rate either. As you can see this is an area where careful advice is needed to find the best equity release plan.

 

  1. Interest & Capital Repayment Options

The major change to equity release schemes in the past few years has been the ability to pay either monthly interest or voluntary interest payments in order to cover some or all of the accruing interest. Again, the lowest interest rate might not equal the best plan.

 

We have already identified that the Hodge Retirement Mortgage offers the lowest rate, but you need to maintain a fixed monthly payment throughout its whole term. However, companies such as Stonehaven & More2life will offer an interest only lifetime mortgage too. However, rather than the concern of possible repossession should payments not be maintained, both Stonehaven & More2life will allow the switch from monthly payments to roll-up (ceasing payments), thus removing the concern of repossession.

 

Schemes which offer voluntary repayments, such as the Aviva Flexi, Hodge Lifetime and with effect from 1st December Stonehaven Interest Select range all allow upto 10% capital repayments. They all charge a higher interest rate, but they do include greater flexibility with regards to permitting these 10% voluntary payments.

 

The Hodge Flexible Lifetime Mortgage Plan & Aviva offer these schemes, and have now been joined by Stonehaven. Having a flexible approach has proved a popular way forward for many that wish to retain control over their future balance. These voluntary repayment lifetime mortgages can be planned so that either just the interest is repaid, thus keeping the balance level, or repaying the full 10% and actual seeing the mortgage balance reducing & even repaid over a period of 16-17 years!

 

  1. Health & Lifestyle Factors

Your health & lifestyle won’t affect your eligibility for equity release but can actually improve the amount you receive, or the interest rate you obtain! There are currently four equity release companies that offer enhancements to their schemes.

 

More2life & Partnership Assurance specialise in enhanced lifetime mortgages, however they may not be the ‘best’ plans as the interest rates are often higher. However, this for some retirees interest rates may not be priority, but the maximum equity release lump sum is. Aviva also offer enhanced lifetime mortgages and can either offer a higher maximum release on its Lump Sum Max plan or alternatively reduce their interest rate, if the maximum is not required & taken on their drawdown flexi plan. Depending on your health criteria, some lending may not accept certain ailments. However, certain enhanced lifetime mortgage companies such as Just Retirement, will go deeper into their health & lifestyle questionnaire & consider illnesses the others won’t accept.

 

  1. Inheritance guarantees

It’s sometimes important that my clients can leave a set inheritance for their families and some lifetime mortgage providers, such as More2Life, Aviva & New Life offers such guaranteed inheritance features. The inclusion of these guarantees can impact the interest rate and the amount of capital available, so careful consideration is needed to work out the ‘best’ scheme.

 

On forgotten equity release scheme that is over looked by many advisers are home reversion plans. Companies such as Bridgewater, New Life & Crown still offer this older form of equity release. Its popularity has waned considerably over the years, however the major benefit of home reversion plans is their ability to guarantee an inheritance at the end of the day. This works by selling a percentage of the property to the reversion company in exchange for a cash lump sum. The proportion of the property not sold is guaranteed to be passed on to the heirs once the house is eventually sold.

 

Summary

Overall, equity release advice is a specialist area of retirement planning. As we’ve seen there isn’t one scheme which is the ‘best’ on the market or fits all. There are far too many features & personal issues to consider that could have relevance to your recommended equity release plan. Thankfully, there are plenty of different options from many different providers. By receiving quality, bespoke advice from Equity Release Supermarket we can work out the ‘best equity release scheme‘ for you, without any obligation.

 

If you are looking to source the best equity release scheme for your particular circumstances & in need of specialist advice then please contact me – Mark Rumney on 07957 974826 or email – markrumney@equityreleasesupermarket.co.uk

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Revealed – How the Bank of Mum & Dad use Equity Release to Fund 1st Time Buyers

Saturday, July 5th, 2014

Bank of Mum & Dad

 

It has recently come to my attention, having watched my own daughter attempt to buy her 1st property, how difficult it has become for 1st time buyers to fulfil their dreams of becoming a homeowner.

 

It also occurred to me that EQUITY RELEASE could in fact play a significant role in assisting the “Bank of Mum and Dad” and others in providing funds to enable these dreams to come true.

 

First some FACTS:

  • The average age for 1st time buyers is now 29
  • 2/3rds of 1st time buyers now turn to the Bank of Mum and Dad (BoMAD) for help
  • 30 years ago 12% of income was needed for a deposit on a property. Today this is staggering 82%!
  • The cost of an average house in the UK is 10 times bigger than the average salary rising to 14 times in London
  • In all but 2 regions in the UK, prices are 7 or more times the average salary for that area (Office of National Statistics)
  • More than 3.3 million 20-34 year olds were still living with their parents in 2013

 

Although these figures clearly indicate it is becoming almost impossible for 1st time buyers to get on the property ladder, help could be at hand – YES, from the “Bank of Mum and Dad”

 

Parents are an obvious first point of call. However with rising living costs, low interest rates and diminishing savings pots, it has become increasingly more difficult for mum and dad to find surplus funds to gift to their children, grandchildren or loved ones, to assist in fulfilling the dream of property ownership.

 

However, there could be a way to take an early inheritance from parents now in order to benefit 1st time buyers when the money is needed the most!

 

A special type of retirement mortgage commonly known as Equity Release could potentially unlock cash tied up in a parent’s property. This can enable mum & dad to generate sufficient funds to gift as a deposit on a property purchase for their loved ones.

 

What is equity release?

Equity release schemes are available in two formats – home reversion & the more popular lifetime mortgage. Both of these equity release schemes enable people who own their main residence to release a percentage of its value in return for a tax-free cash lump sum. These two types of equity release mortgages then run for the rest of your life & only repaid once upon death or moving into long term care.

 

The equity release scheme known as a lifetime mortgage has proven the most popular due to its flexibility. This has been strengthened this year with providers such as Hodge Lifetime & Aviva both providing an option to repay upto 10% of the original capital borrowed each year. Therefore, control over its final balance, or even repayment of the whole scheme over the longer term could represent a serious possibility, for either parents to pay, or the children themselves!

 

Lifetime mortgages are available to those aged 55+, with a minimum property value of £60,000. The amount that can be borrowed is not always based on affordability, but on factors such as age & property value. Effectively, the older you are, the greater amount of equity you can release.

 

Following a release of the equity, the lifetime mortgage company places a first legal charge on the property. This is exactly the same as any conventional mortgage and 100% legal ownership is still retained by the client providing peace of mind.

 

Typically, someone age 60 could release equity of between 18-25.5% of the value of the property, dependent on the lender concerned. These equity release funds can be spent on anything you like, however a sensible & cautious approach is always advised. Therefore, parents looking to assist their children onto the property ladder, a lifetime mortgage could prove an effective mortgage vehicle to achieve this goal.

 

Which equity release schemes can help 1st time buyers?

Equity release schemes have become a lot more flexible and innovative these days. You can choose to make NO repayments and have the interest added to the loan which is known as a roll-up lifetime mortgage. The amount borrowed plus any interest accrued is repaid upon sale of the property. This would happen on death (last death if joint plan) or having to go into long term permanent care. Thought must be given here should there be more than one beneficiary. With an increasing balance & possibly reducing net equity figure, consideration must be afforded to any remaining beneficiaries as to what they may potentially receive at the end of the day?

 

However, there are new repayment versions of equity release schemes that have proven even more popular with parents looking to securely gift money to their children to help with a property purchase.

 

Interest only lifetime mortgages from Stonehaven & more2life will allow the repayment of just the interest only element. By repaying interest charged each month prevents the loan from increasing and thus remains level for the rest of the mortgagor’s life. This is a great idea when there is more than one child involved. The problem has always been how to separate the gift now, from the overall inheritance at the end of the day if more than one child is involved?

 

The solution is having an interest only lifetime mortgage. By knowing in advance what the balance will be, this loan amount can be deducted from that child’s share of the inheritance at the end of the day. This would be even fairer for the other siblings, should that child also pay the monthly premiums on behalf of the Bank of Mum & Dad!

 

NEW -Voluntary partial repayment plans

Equity Release Supermarket now has access to specialist equity release schemes where there is the option to repay up to 10% of the original capital released each year without any early repayment charges. These equity release schemes through Aviva & Hodge Lifetime have proved popular for those not just looking to repay the interest, but also the opportunity to repay the equity release scheme in full over approximately 16-17 years. These voluntary partial repayment equity release schemes are proving to be the next generation of the equity release market.

 

How is the Bank of Mum & Dad protected?

All the equity release schemes we recommend are members of the Equity Release Council, which means that there are certain guarantees built into them for consumer protection. As a minimum the Equity Release Council will ensure the following guarantees are included:-

  • The schemes are portable and can be transferred to another qualifying property should you wish to move in the future
  • There is a no-negative equity guarantee which means a debt cannot be left to your estate even if the value of the property becomes less than the balance of the loan outstanding
  • You can live in your house for as long as you wish and with a lifetime mortgage you retain full ownership
  • They can be repaid at any time, subject to potential early repayment charges

 

Benefits of using Equity Release

Contrary to directly gifting your property to your children, by using equity release to gift instead, would avoid any Capital Gains Tax as the main residence is retained by the client. There could still be a potential Inheritance Tax liability, but only if the client died within 7 years of the gift.

 

The lifetime mortgage would be a deductible liability against the client’s estate, reducing the value being taxed and although interest would have to be paid on the loan; this could still prove beneficial to both the client and those receiving the gift. Always consult a tax expert on these matters in conjunction with your independent equity release adviser.

 

Of course let’s not forget the best part of this!

 

The potential to fulfil the dreams of our loved ones in an age where quite frankly, property purchase is almost becoming nothing more than just a dream for some. The joys of parenthood!

 

Next Steps…

I would be delighted to offer a FREE initial consultation to discuss any of the above matters relating to how equity release can help your children step onto the property ladder.

 

Please call me on 07788 605620 or 0203 7517228 or email cathy@equityreleasesupermarket.co.uk

Before Using Equity Release Club Together All Available Savings and Benefits

Thursday, June 27th, 2013

Experience has shown that equity release should always be considered a lifetime mortgage of last resort.

 

With the popularity of equity release schemes reaching an all time high, now is a good time to take stock of just why the equity release market has reached the level of consumer confidence it now commands.

 

There have been many highs & lows for an industry which has been much maligned. However, with increasingly flexible schemes & the lowest interest rates ever seen, we could be in for a ‘golden age’ for equity release.

 

It is therefore essential to seek the services of a qualified professional equity release adviser who is able to club together all their resources and ‘know how’ to complete a full fact find assessment of the clients situation.

 

This will include the ‘hard facts’ such as income, savings & assets etc which determine one’s current financial predicament. However, just as important are the ‘softer facts’ which mould a customer’s future viewpoint such as interest rates, property values and their potential inheritance.

 

Armed with this information, you should find an equity release adviser would assess whether a clients objectives could be met by alternative solutions, prior to an equity release recommendation being made.

 

Equity release alternatives  

When releasing equity from your home it involves a number of risks. Therefore, it is important that before your equity release adviser makes any recommendations, full consideration are given to whether there are any other options that could be explored.

 

Equity Release Supermarket will always discuss the following alternatives as a pre cursor to any equity release recommendation. Typically, these are:

 

  1. Apply for benefits – if your retirement income is below minimum government standards, then you may qualify for means tested benefits. These would include pension credit, savings credit and council tax benefit. For tax year 2013/14 the minimum income level to qualify for is £145.40pw for a single person and £222.05 for a couple. Therefore, if retirement incomes fall below these figures then you should be making enquiries at the DWP and your local authority. Remember that taking equity release from your property can affect means tested benefits, so always get professional advice.
  2. Obtain a grant for home improvements – again, if your income is below government guidelines then there are certain grants that are available upon enquiry. The standard grants can include loft insulation, cavity wall insulation, new boiler and by contacting your local Home Improvement Agency (HIA) they could provide assistance to help repair or even adapt your home. Therefore, these should always be explored before taking a home equity plan.
  3. Downsizing – i.e. moving to a smaller, less expensive property – probably the most common & cost effective solution, rather than taking equity from your property. Sometimes an emotive issue, as most retirees have lived in their current abode for many years, often with many memories attached. However, with the children moving on, your property may become too large to maintain. Therefore, by downsizing to a smaller property you can release equity that can then be used for the purposes you require & support you financially into your retirement.
  4. Using other assets to provide the funding required – taking equity release involves the expense of compound interest & an interest rate charged that would be higher than that received in most investments & savings accounts. Therefore, why take equity release, when you may have considerable savings you could use instead? Nevertheless, bear in mind some investments may be used for income purposes, so need to be left in situ & there should always be an emergency fund on hand should anything untoward occur & funds required immediately. Some people even feel the necessity for a large amount on deposit as they feel more secure knowing these funds are available. As an equity release adviser, we would explain the pros and cons of this course of action and maintain equilibrium for both parties.
  5. Ask for assistance from other family members – Equity Release Supermarket has experience of situations where brothers, sisters or even children have assisted their parents, rather than letting them take a release of equity form their property. This could be achieved by a family member taking a personal loan, remortgaging or even taking funds from their own personal savings. Lending to parents can have its drawbacks too, & we have seen occasions where this has created more family issues than it was meant to solve. However, with formal agreements in place if necessary, this can still be a good equity release alternative.
  6. Reduce your expenditure – with an increase in equity release lending being for debt consolidation purposes, many people have found the income transition from employment to retirement is a struggle. To maintain living standards in retirement, compared to employment is difficult for many & some never come to terms with this loss of income. By not cutting the cloth accordingly, debts amass on credit cards & loans & the downward spiral begins. By planning ahead before retirement & then analysing where cutbacks could occur once retirement starts, can have a significant influence on future retirement finances.
  7. Take in a lodger – one suggestion that always raises a smile, but in theory for many could help bring in extra income. The government ‘rent a room’ scheme allows home owners to let out a furnished room and receive upto £4,250pa in gross receipts without liability to income tax. For many however, sharing their main residence with other people may not sit too comfortably, however for individuals with room to spare it could create a good tax free income. Remember to check with your home insurance company & any lease that may exist on the property to ensure it does not create any exemptions.
  8. Consider other types of loans – credit card, personal loan, mortgage, HP – depending on affordability & the duration of the lump sum required, there are shorter term loan options available than equity release. A personal loan or strict use of a credit card and using some of the 0% credit offers available could prove to be extremely costs effective. The lifetime nature of equity release schemes means that if they are paid off early, there could be considerable early repayment charges levied by the provider.  Beware of high APR’s on loans and credit cards & bear in mind potential rate changes that could occur in the future should interest rates rise again.

 

As you can see before taking equity release club together all the ideas above and assess whether any of the aforementioned financial solutions could help yourself and/or beneficiaries over time. Equity Release Supermarket always suggest speaking to your children in any case to allay issues over inheritance.

 

To discuss how your equity release club of measures could help, contact the Equity Release Supermarket team of advisers on 0800 678 5159 or email mark@equityreleasesupermarket.co.uk

FREE Valuation Offer With Hodge Lifetime

Tuesday, February 26th, 2013

With growing interest in the Hodge Lifetime Flexible Mortgage, Equity Release Supermarket are pleased to announce a new FREE valuation deal for this market leading equity release product.

 

For all new applications from 26th February 2013, Equity Release Supermarket can offer customers taking out a new Hodge Lifetime Mortgage plan a FREE valuation on properties worth upto £350,000. For properties above the £350,000 limit will just need to cover the differential valuation cost.

Hodge Lifetime Free Valuation offer

 

Hodge Lifetime  has taken the lifetime mortgage market by storm with its forward thinking products catering for the changing needs of the over 60’s retired population.

 

The introduction of the Flexible Lifetime Mortgage Plan in 2012, saw two new features arrive that had never set foot in an industry previously devoured of new ideas & future planning tools.

 

Details of these features are as follows: –

 

  1. Downsizing Protection Option – allows anyone holding a Hodge Lifetime Plan to repay their lifetime mortgage with NO early repayment charges, providing they move house & downsize at the same time after 5 years of starting the plan. Also favourably for anyone that downsizes WITHIN 5 years –  Hodge Lifetime will only charge a penalty on a decreasing basis of 5%,4%,3%,2% & 1% over the first 5 years of the plan term. These rates are the best the equity release industry has to offer currently & helps those who have no intentions of moving now, but may do so in the future for various reasons.
  2. Flexible Repayment Option – first came the roll-up lifetime mortgage, then interest only lifetime mortgages where the interest could be repaid – now the Hodge Lifetime Flexible repayment option. Hodge now offer the facility to repay upto 10% of the original capital borrowed each year with NO penalty. Therefore, if you’re looking to cap the build up of interest with ad-hoc repayments, or even wish to reduce the equity release mortgage balance, then you can now do so. The repayments can be made anytime you like after the initial period of 12 months from the start date of the plan.

 

Hodge now have a range of lifetime mortgage plans that can be taken on a single lump sum or drawdown equity release basis with flexibility being key to their portfolio of products. With interest rates starting from 5.74% monthly (6.20% APR) and fixed for life, the present time is the best time the equity release market has ever seen for interest rates.

 

If you are looking for an equity release scheme whereby you can afford to make repayments of capital &/or interest in order to protect you children’s inheritance, then the Hodge Flexible Lifetime Mortgage scheme should be of interest.

 

For further information or to request a Hodge quotation, please visit our dedicated Hodge Lifetime deals page by clicking here.

Alternatively, you can speak to one of our Hodge specialists at Equity Release Supermarket by calling our equity release advice line on 0800 678 5159.

 

Looking to Switch Lifetime Mortgage Schemes Could Prove Prudential

Sunday, February 10th, 2013

With lifetime mortgage schemes becoming increasingly commonplace and new borrowers on the increase, we look at how existing equity release customers could still benefit by reviewing and possibly remortgaging their existing plans.

 

Today, the equity release market has expanded to include a variety of different products. At the same time, interest rates today also tend to be more favourable to those a few years back. In light of this, those with existing lifetime mortgage schemes need to weigh-up the pros and cons of shopping around and possibly swapping or switching lifetime mortgage schemes.

 

Older lifetime mortgage schemes from the likes of Norwich Union, Northern Rock, Mortgage Express and Portman Building Society could have equity release interest rates of 8% and upwards if taken out in the halcyon days. However, times and products have all changed, and for those who thought their equity release was a ‘one-off’ event, could never have been more mistaken.

 

Like any conventional mortgage, equity release plans can also be moved to a new provider should the terms be more favourable. There could be a number of reasons to remortgage an older equity release scheme: –

  1. Lower interest rate
  2. Further borrowings
  3. Swap to a more flexible plan

 

Looking at these individually, we can explain the circumstances why many more people are now remortgaging their old lifetime mortgage plans.

 

Lower Interest Rate

The major factor to the expense of lifetime mortgages is the interest rate. Due to the annual compounding effect of the interest, then by cropping 1-2% off the current interest rate can literally save £1000’s over the remainder of the planholders life. This would be most beneficial for the children who will end up with more net equity available upon the death or their parents moving into long term care.

With interest rates from Aviva now as low as 5.57%, by conducting a lifetime remortgage even from an old Aviva capital release plan, would be possible & cost effective. With older lifetime mortgage rates being as high as 8%, the amount that could be saved in interest would be enormous over a long enough period of time.

 

Further Borrowings

It may have been many years since the original tranche of tax free cash was taken and as we know, money these days doesn’t go that far. Therefore, existing lifetime mortgage policyholders may have found this money they took out years ago has dwindled away and are maybe considering their next steps again.

Don’t worry because you have two options – return to your current lender for a lifetime mortgage further advance, or failing that, consider a completely new lifetime mortgage company, if their terms are favourable.

For instance, if your health has taken a turn for the worse then consider an enhanced lifetime mortgage scheme from the likes of Aviva, Partnership or more2life. Having ailments such as high blood pressure, diabetes, heart trouble or even being a smoker can influence a lifetime mortgage terms and conditions. If any of these symptoms exist, then the aforementioned lenders can offer a greater lumps sum than normal; exceptional should you now require maximum fund availability.

 

Swap to a more flexible plan

Lifetime mortgage plans of old were pretty inflexible, being a matter of taking a one-off lump sum and then sitting back thinking ‘job done’. Today’s equity release schemes have been designed with flexibility in mind.

Whereas previously only a single lump was on offer, nowadays with the advent of drawdown lifetime mortgage schemes, you can take a smaller initial amount & leave the surplus in reserve for later. This course of action has its benefits as you will only be charged interest on the capital withdrawn, not on the funds left in the reserve facility. A drawdown lifetime mortgage therefore can provide a cash reserve facility for additional borrowings required in the future. This would prevent you from having the expense of moving schemes again in the future.

A more recent development in the field of lifetime mortgages has been the ability to repay the interest which has not been a function that has previously been available. The interest only lifetime mortgage has seen a boom in sales recently now that retirees can protect their children’s inheritance by making monthly repayments of interest. Therefore, even if you have been on a roll-up scheme, but feel ‘enough is enough’ with the balance reaching its peak to feel comfortable with, you could switch to an interest only lifetime mortgage plan & consolidate the balance.

 

Which lifetime mortgage to swap to

Lifetime mortgage schemes essentially allow you to release some of the equity tied up in your home. The main types of lifetime mortgage schemes are the drawdown lifetime mortgage, roll-up, enhanced and the interest only lifetime mortgage. Lifetime mortgages are loans which need to be repaid once the property is sold.

Clearly, when it comes to equity release schemes, the lower the interest rate on the loan the more you save over the longer term. If you already have an existing equity release loan on your property, switching to a scheme with better interest rates may save you money. However, switching to an equity release scheme with a lower and better interest rate may not necessarily mean that you end up saving money.

 

It is important to find out whether your existing equity release lender has any early repayment charges in place. If you are liable to pay any early repayment penalties, these may cancel out any saving you make by switching. To find out whether switching to a scheme with better interest rates really saves you money, it is important to consider any early repayment charges in your calculations.

Equity release schemes have come a long way since they were first introduced to the market. Today, a much wider variety of products with various bells and whistles can be found. Switching to a more current plan may therefore be beneficial not just from the point of view of interest rates but for flexibility and new features as well.

 

For a free assessment of whether a lifetime remortgage could be beneficial then contact Equity Release Supermarket. With experienced lifetime mortgage advisers attuned to the complexities of swapping plans, they can analyse whether it would be in your best interests, or not to change equity release plans.

 

Call us on freephone 0800 678 5159 today for you free lifetime remortgage assessment or email mark@equityreleasesupermarket.co.uk

 

Which Equity Release Companies Accept Payments of Interest &/or Capital?

Monday, January 14th, 2013

Following on from the last article entitled – ‘Will Equity Release Providers Accept Repayments of Interest and/or Capital?‘ we now look at the three companies concerned & their equity release plans in greater detail by covering the features these schemes have brought to the marketplace.

 

Hodge Lifetime

Hodge Lifetime returned to the equity release market in 2012 with a truly innovative lifetime mortgage product which has since been improved again to include a new drawdown facility.

This lump sum lifetime mortgage is unique in that it includes a 10% flexible repayment option with absolutely no early repayment charges under certain circumstances upon downsizing.

 

Hodge Lifetime Allow 10% Overpayments

The Hodge Lifetime Lump Sum Lifetime Mortgage is basically a traditional roll-up lifetime mortgage scheme in that it allows you to borrow a lump sum with a fixed interest rate for life. The flexible repayment option allows you to make a repayment of up to 10% of the original amount borrowed, without incurring any penalties or charges. Since there are no monthly commitments, repayment is flexible and you are free to pay as and when you choose, once the first 12 months has elapsed.

 

These payments are permitted on an irregular basis with a maximum of two repayments per annum. This would ideally suit people who want to control the balance of the plan in the future and in particular want to keep a level balance, or even repay some of the capital by taking advantage of the maximum 10% overpayment rule.

 

The effect of making these 10% overpayments

The Hodge Lifetime Flexible Repayment Option Calculator (accessible via their website) shows the effect making the maximum 10%pa repayments has on borrowing £20,000 at their current rate of 5.83% monthly (6.2% APR).

Over a 10 year period, by repaying £2,000pa back to Hodge Lifetime (10% of capital amount borrowed), it would reduce the balance by almost half to £11,340. Compare this to if NO repayments were made at all and the balance would have risen to £35,778; a significant difference of £24,438!

 

Hodge also have NO early repayment charges…

A second feature that is proving extremely popular with Equity Release Supermarket customers is the favourable early repayment charges that Hodge Lifetime offer.

The plan is geared towards those clients who maybe considering downsizing in the future. Again this has always been a stumbling block for many who see equity release schemes as a solution, however have been put off by the potential size of some of the lenders early repayment charges if repaid early. With some lenders such as Aviva, these penalties can be upto a maximum of 25% of the amount borrowed.

 

Hodge Lifetime make downsizing a more attainable option by applying a sliding scale of early repayment charges (ERC’s) over the first 5 years. These ERCs descend from 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 over the first five years of downsizing. There are no early repayment charges if you downsize after 5 years.

The starting age for the Flexible Repayment Lump Sum Lifetime Mortgage is 60, and the minimum property value is £100,000 with a minimum initial borrowing of £20,000. Hodge Lifetime is a member of the Equity Release Council and all their plans follow SHIP Guidelines. Click here to request a Hodge Lifetime quote.

 

Stonehaven

Stonehaven launched their Interest Select Plans over 7 years ago and were the first of the current crop of equity release companies to offer an interest only lifetime mortgage option.

Stonehaven have been important addition to the equity release range of companies as they created the original concept of this type of interest only lifetime product, which now is starting to make in-roads into the over 55’s mortgage market.  With features unseen before in this sector of the equity release market, Stonehaven’s Interest Select range of products have been launched with the changing needs of the customer in mind.

 

Stonehaven help protect your inheritance

Like the other two flexible repayment plans, this plan is designed to suit those who wish to have more control over repayment and to protect their inheritance.

The Stonehaven Interest Select plans include the Interest Select Lite, Interest Select Plus, Interest Select and the Interest Select Max. Each plan has its own lending limits, or loan-to-value. The greater the borrowings, the higher the interest rate becomes.

 

You can select your monthly payment

All these plans offer a disciplined monthly repayment plan that maintains a level balance throughout the term of the contract. The minimum amount that needs to be repaid monthly is only £25. The client can actually elect how much of the total interest charged they wish to repay. It can be anywhere between the total amount of interest charged each month, down to this £25pm level. The interest rate charged depends on which interest select option you choose.

 

If only partial repayment is made then the Interest Select loans have two parts – the interest payment part, and the interest roll up part. The part of the loan on which you make interest repayments is the interest payment part. If you are not paying all of the interest, then the roll up part is included and this element will accrue over time depending on how much of the total payment is being made.

 

Stonehaven give you the option from the outset to choose how long you wish to make these monthly payments for. Most people will select over their lifetime. However, if there is to be a significant event arising in the future, then you can elect to fix a term for the payments. The interest rate is fixed for the term you will be making interest payments, but cannot extend it later.

 

Protection against repossession

Stonehaven also include a protection feature that is unique to the equity release market. In the future, should you ever fall upon difficult times, then the monthly payments can always be stopped and the plan is automatically converted into a roll-up lifetime mortgage. No further repayments are then requested. There are no actual penalties for this, however if this has been done without prior notification then Stonehaven will increase the future interest rate by just 0.2%

 

What are the Stonehaven Interest Rates?

The monthly rates of interest for the Lite, Select, Plus and Max options vary, and are currently as follows –

 

Interest Select Lite – 5.99%

Interest Select – 6.08%

Interest Select Plus – 6.17%

Interest Select Max – 6.81%

 

The selection of each product is determined by the loan-to-value of the application. The lower the loan-to-value the better the interest rate offered by Stonehaven is.

An example of borrowing £20,000 on their interest select lite plan would result in monthly payments of £103.08 (6.4% APR).

 

Stonehaven are also a member of the Equity Release Council and all their plans follow SHIP Guidelines. Their plans start at a lower age of 55 with a minimum property valuation of £70,000 and a minimum initial release of just £10,000. Click this link to request a Stonehaven Interest Select quote.

 

more2life

more2life which is part owned by Key Retirement Solutions, has recently launched their Interest Choice Plan with a fixed lifetime interest rate.

 

This is a flexible drawdown interest only lifetime equity release plan, and allows applicants the option to repay between upto 100% of the monthly interest. The minimum amount that needs to be repaid is £25. The drawdown facility however, is provided only on a roll-up basis, not an interest only basis.

 

Plans start at age 60, with a minimum property value of £70,000 in England & Wales and with a minimum initial release of just £10,000.

If you wish to request a quote from more2life follow this link.

 

For additional information on any of these interest only lifetime mortgage schemes call freephone 0800 678 5159 or email mark@equityreleasesupermarket.co.uk

 

Do Banks Offer Equity Release Schemes?

Tuesday, December 11th, 2012

It has been a mystery why the UK mainstream banks haven’t fully embraced their traditional image of lenders to the masses, by entering into the realm of equity release schemes. We look at the history of attempts and corresponding results of many high street banks who have previously offered equity release schemes to the over 55’s.

 

Problems from the start

We start our history lesson back in the 1990’s, when Barclays & Bank of Scotland dreamt up the concept of the Shared Appreciation Mortgage (SAMs) whilst the housing market was quite stagnant. People were looking desperately to get on the housing ladder and it seemed a good buyers market.

 

These two banks were offering the elderly a mortgage with NO monthly payments; however they would instead take a share in the future rise in the property value. Around 11,000 Shared Appreciation Mortgages were sold of which these unlucky retirees thought would only need to pay back a few thousand pounds.

 

However, the property boom followed the property slump of the 1990’s, and by 2007 property values had almost quadrupled of which the banks also took their large share. The resultant effect has left many pensioners now unable to sell as they haven’t sufficient equity of their own to move house. The legacy of these schemes still exists today with legal action being taken by some of the unfortunate customers of these banks.

 

Some have tried and failed

We have seen in the last decade a couple more banks have dipped their toes into the water & failed with lifetime mortgage schemes. Notably one temporary success was NatWest/Royal Bank of Scotland who ventured into lifetime mortgages for a period, but none have ever felt comfortable offering this form of mortgage for the over 55’s.

 

NatWest/RBS equity release schemes became available in 2006 and were made available to its long time bank customers or retired bank staff. However, by 2009 after much back office investment & a surge in recruitment RBS ran out of funds and closed the whole equity release operation down.

 

The importance of independence

In Retirement Services logoHSBC offered equity release back in 2006, after tying itself up with a tender from the now dissolved equity release company – In Retirement Services. In Retirement Services were an equity release provider in their own right and funded by private equity firm 3i, but only offered their own products.

This was always considered a strange decision for HSBC at the time to tie themselves with a non-independent equity release company & left the markets bemused. Afterall, why would a major high street bank tie themselves to someone with no independence for its customers?

The relationship ceased and the products were no longer available once In retirement Services went into administration due to funding issues in 2009.

 

Have Building Societies fared any better?

There has been a history of building societies that have yielded greater success with their own equity release solutions. They have ventured in & out of the market but no building society has remained and stood the test of time. Many building societies have fallen victim to the credit crunch over 3 years ago. This was due to the issues with raising funds on the money markets, and inter-bank lending at the time was virtually suspended.

 

This left many building societies involved in equity release lending, moving their mortgage book of funds towards the most profitable products such as mortgages which provide greater profit margins that equity release over the shorter term.

northern-rock_999576c

 

Within the last 10 years we have had Northern Rock as a major provider; however we know how the how the market crash affected them & its customers! They are now accepting repayment of their equity release schemes to clear their mortgage books of these old equity release plans.

 

Northern Rocks early equity release mortgages only had 5 years early repayment charges, so it could be an excellent chance to get a better deal today with the current crop of low interest rate home equity schemes available. (Northern Rock has sold its equity release book now to Papilio UK Equity Release Mortgages)

 

Other building societies that tried and failed due to the credit crunch were Bristol & West, Saffron Building Society and a notably, although temporary, unique scheme launched by Godiva. They were the first to enter the equity release market with an equity release plan with NO early repayment charges. Unfortunately, again the credit crunch put paid to this, and you would hope a similar product would one day re-enter the lifetime mortgage market; albeit the Hodge Flexible Lifetime Mortgage Plan goes some way to meeting a no redemption penalty equity release plan – see below.

 

So what types of equity release providers are currently in the UK equity release market?

It seems the secret to success and longevity is to find a niche product with a USP in the equity release market.

Lets consider the current lifetime mortgage providers and the schemes on offer and you can see why…

 

 Provider  Product Name  USP
 Aviva  Lifestyle Flexible Option Lowest interest rate currently in the market.Rates currently start from 5.57% and come with free  valuation and cashbacks
 Stonehaven  Interest Select Plan An interest only lifetime mortgage. Monthly payments help maintain a level balance.Great inheritance protection for the children
 More2life  Enhanced Lifetime Mortgage Offers the maximum release in the market by underwriting on the grounds of ill-health. The more severe one’s heath the greater the release
 Hodge Lifetime  Flexible Drawdown Plan Hodge have two USP’s. One is the ability to repay upto 10% of the balance each year. The 2nd is you can downsize after 5 years with NO early repayment charges

 

Today’s range of equity release companies stem from insurance companies to finance houses who have the ability to fund their lifetime mortgage schemes via their annuity books. We still have a mutual society and the remainder are private companies who manage to find funding from business partners.

 

Whatever the funding source, the current breed of equity release schemes offer the most diverse range of plans and competitive interest rates the equity release market has seen.

 

If there are any lifetime mortgage plans, old and new that you wish to discuss further, contact mark@equityreleasesupermarket.co.uk or call the Equity Release Supermarket team on 0800 678 5159.

Can I Still Move House if I Take Out an Equity Release Plan?

Tuesday, September 18th, 2012

When it comes to financial planning, it is essential to explore all your options carefully, but even more important is to understand the full implications of your financial decisions today. Equity release proves to be a good option for many people, and if you’re considering a home equity release as an option, it is necessary to fully understand it.

 

Therefore, decisions made now could be influential in the future should your circumstances have to change. One of these situations would be if you wish to move house in the future. This could be for several reasons: –

 

  • Downsizing to a smaller property to raise cash to assist with financial affairs
  • Moving to a property for mobility reasons e.g. to a bungalow or sheltered accommodation
  • Move house to live nearer to the children to help with child minding or health care issues

 

A quick search online can help you find lots of information about equity release. Many equity release brokers have websites with ‘frequently asked questions’ (faq’s) sections that provide basic information about equity release mortgages. Here you can understand the two main types of equity release schemes – a lifetime mortgage and the home reversion plans. These all help the customer understand the potential risks and benefits of equity release plans and therefore form the basis of discussion with the family.

 

One of the common questions that people have when it comes to equity release mortgages is whether it is possible to move home once you have a lifetime mortgage or even a home reversion plan. The simple answer is yes, as long as the lender approves of the new property and the build criteria meets their acceptable lending policy.

 

All companies that Equity Release Supermarket deal with are members of the Equity Release Council (formerly the trade body called Safe Home Income Plan or SHIP for short). It is a condition of membership that the scheme is an approved equity release plan, which allows the applicant to transfer the mortgage to a different property.

 

With home reversion plans, moving is generally more complicated as the ownership of the existing home lies with both the lender and the original homeowner. Moving may involve changing the percentage ownership in the new property. Also, in case of downsizing, the home reversion lender may keep any profit made on the existing house. There are several factors to be considered, and the feasibility of a move will depend on the particular property.

 

While transferring an equity release lifetime mortgage is simpler, it involves additional costs, as fresh paperwork will need to be drawn up for the new property. Most lenders will require a new application which will involve all the same associated fees; namely valuation fee, application charge, solicitor’s fees and any advice fee charged by your equity release adviser.

 

There are further considerations when transferring lifetime mortgages which are affected by how much cash was borrowed on the original plan. The reason is that if someone is downsizing, they may need to pay off some of the existing balance on moving to a lower value house. When calculating the maximum amount that can be borrowed on the new valued property, this figure may not be high enough to pay off the balance from the former property.

Therefore, to bring the transfer in line with the lower valued property, a capital sum may need to be paid off the balance. The good news is that this would come from the equity raised by downsizing anyway and there is no penalty upon taking this course of action

 

Usually, there are no restrictions on moving home if the equity release is redeemed. However, you must be aware of the possible early repayment charges if the lifetime mortgage plan is paid off when moving house. Many providers charge an early repayment penalty, typically if the deal is cancelled within five years, or particular government gilts have fallen since the signing of the contract. Considering the high costs of cancellation, not enough equity may be left over to invest in a new property, so moving is generally a viable option for those who wish to transfer the equity release deal rather than cancel it altogether.

 

Nevertheless, to establish the exact position of your existing equity release mortgage obtain a current redemption statement which your equity release consultant can request on your behalf, with an appropriate client authority. From there an equity release calculation can be made to ascertain how much can be borrowed and the necessary recommendations can be made from there.

 

If you are looking at applying for equity release, or have an existing equity release scheme & considering moving home then contact Equity Release Supermarket team now on 0800 678 5159.

 

Alternatively, you can email the Equity Release Team – mail@equityreleasesupermarket.co.uk

 

 
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