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Why London Housing Statistics show Equity Release on the Agenda

Tuesday, May 20th, 2014

London Equity ReleaseAnytime housing values begin to increase, it is time to assess the home buying situation. Retirement has been a topic of some concern for those heading into their 60s. In fact, over 55s are starting to realise while they have worked hard, they may not have enough in their pension portfolio to live on. The reason is all down to living longer – longevity. The average life is no longer to 70, but closer to 90 for females. Even in London families are cash poor, but property rich. Take advantage of new housing statistics and use a UK equity release calculator to determine if there is an equity release solution for you. London equity release schemes are being called upon because of their ability to help those who need cash, but own large amounts of equity in their property.

 

Equity Release Defined

Equity releases most popular form is the lifetime mortgage. This mortgage comes in various guises and can either come with or without a method of monthly repayment until the property is sold, either because the homeowners move, pass away or end up in long term care. The mortgage can be taken out from the age of 55. These lifetime mortgages do collect interest based on a fixed APR that adds up each year until the mortgage is repaid.

 

The London Housing Market

London housing prices have increased by 17.7 per cent in the last year. New and pre-owned homes in London are continuing to increase rather quickly. While housing prices are increasing, mortgage interest rates have actually decreased in the last few years, however storm clouds are on the horizon with news that early 2015 could see an interest rate rise. The monthly cost even on equity release is lower than in previous years. Now with lifetime mortgages it is true you do not make a monthly repayment; however, it is important to use an equity release calculator to compare the cost of your lifetime product against a standard mortgage.

 

By comparing the two you can determine if the low monthly cost stacks up against the equity lifetime release. Standard mortgages in London offer a loan to value of 75 per cent, meaning the other 25 per cent has to be a down payment for the purchase of the property. Even the LTV has been increasing over the last few years and markedly in the last few months. What this means for lifetime equity release is a higher percentage of lump sum tax free cash available for homeowners.

 

The increase of housing prices means more value is in the home, thus more money can be released with any form of available equity release product. Even though there is a potential for more money to be available, it does not mean all homeowners will take the larger lump sum. It is just important to know it is available and there as a back-up should anything untoward happen.

 

Agenda – Lifetime Mortgage

Lifetime mortgages are defined and the London housing sector is ripe for the picking. You have an idea of the solution, but why might lifetime mortgages continue to rise in popularity even in the Big Smoke?

 

Younger generations tend to spend more during an average week than older generations, say those in their 80s. Many retirees are in their 60s, which means they are still spending money as if they were working.

 

If you add the expenditures that occur each week to the recession issues of the past couple of years, there is a detriment to retirement funds for most individuals, even those in London. Especially people living in London, considering the expense of daily living without being overly effusive with spending.

 

Housing costs to run a large home, food purchases, travel, and entertainment are all going to be more in the capital city. As retirement pensions and other retirement investments lost a great deal with stock market troubles, it has left many retirees without enough funds to sustain their retirement life.

 

More so has been the fundamental flaw in endowment mortgage schemes whereby large shortfall are being evidenced upon maturity of the endowment plan. This has left many London homeowners with shortfalls on the repayment of their interest only mortgage. Therefore, London equity release schemes have come to fruition with the likes Of Stonehaven, more2life & Hodge Lifetime whom can provide an escape route via remortgaging onto their London lifetime mortgage schemes.

 

It puts lifetime mortgages on the agenda because they are a way to gain cash for mortgage repayments, general living, extravagant holidays, and any other type of entertainment retirees might wish to enjoy. The cash poor situation suddenly becomes obsolete as the property rich gain a little of that hard earned money back to use as they grow older.

 

Inheritance Factors are Imperative

As you consider whether a lifetime mortgage is right for you, it is imperative to think about inheritance, especially with the associated property values in London borough’s. A large estate when provided to family all at once is subject to inheritance tax over & above the £325,000 allowance for each party. This tax can be so large that it wipes out the entire inheritance. It is the reason those with a huge estate set up trusts and other tax planning instruments which can alleviate some of the IHT burden.

 

A lifetime mortgage can work in one of two ways, both as detrimental to any inheritance you may want to leave behind, but can also be used as a successful vehicle for mitigating IHT issues. Even in London, equity release can threaten an inheritance depending on the type of loan. For instance, the roll-up lifetime mortgage has the interest compounding as long as the mortgage is outstanding. On the other hand it is an opportunity to disperse inheritance without fear of taxes. By using a UK equity release calculator, can help you calculate the percentage of loan to leave as an inheritance.

 

Before entering into any equity release contract, you must seek independent equity release advice from a reputable company. For a full list of equity release brokers visit the Equity Release Council website, where using a postcode search can identify a London equity release brokerage near to you.

New Plans, New Providers, New Horizons – Equity Release 2014

Friday, January 24th, 2014

Equity Release 2014 Having been in the equity release industry for the past 14 years, there has never been as much optimism & confidence in this sector as there is now. Against a backdrop of reductions & barriers to lending in retirement, the equity release marketplace is expanding faster than most other areas of financial services.

 

Equity release 2014 holds the greatest number of reasons why the over 55 age group are now considering equity release schemes as their route to financial freedom & lifestyle improvements.

 

But first we need to understand the issues arising in 2014 for many retirees and how the stress associated with managing retirement finances can be alleviated. Furthermore, we’ll discuss why there is a change in attitude towards equity release, people’s inheritance and how the equity release lenders are developing products to meet the future needs of today’s baby boomers.

 

So why now & what are the reasons?

 

Firstly, it looks like 2013 laid the foundations for the recovery of the equity release market. A record £106billion equity release lending took place, which was a 10% increase on the previous year and this takes us back to the halcyon equity release days of 2006. But the numbers do not explain the underlying reasons, only the resultant effect.

 

I believe the huge growth in demand is down to a number of factors as follows:-

 

 

1. Baby Boomers – Primarily there are a record number of so called ‘baby boomers’ who are reaching retirement age. It is estimated that up until 2018 record numbers of upto 700,000 people will turn 65 each year and begin to draw their pensions and purchase annuities.

 

At that point, once the new financial landscape is established, will it dawn on many that the difference that retirement has made to their disposable incomes & the sacrifices & cut backs that will need to be made. But surely retirement should be time to retire & relax & enjoy the fruits of one’s career?

 

The transition from a paid salary to a reduced fixed pension can be difficult and for some, one many never really come to terms with. There have been many cases at Equity Release Supermarket, whereby following the first few years of retirement we are arranging equity release for the consolidation of debts such as credit cards & loans. This was a result of continued spending following retirement without carrying out what should be a mandatory income & expenditure analysis.

 

 

2. Indebtedness – Many of these baby boomers reaching retirement have grown use to managing debt during their working lives. This generation have lived through vast fluctuations in the economy such as interest rates, inflation & the recent credit crunch. Having come through the worst of this & still showing such positive signs of equity, gives them the confidence of maintaining such debts into retirement. Afterall, this age group are probably the ones with the best repayment history, credit record, guaranteed incomes and all coming with security of tenure in their properties!

 

A recent study showed that one in six over 65’s expect to borrow money in retirement to meet their retirement goals. In fact in the last year alone, 16% of over 65’s applied for a loan or credit card. The issue nowadays is of course that credit is not as readily available and one in ten applications from over 55’s will be declined, as lenders become far less willing to lend into retirement.

 

This applies to mortgages also. Lenders are increasingly calling in mortgage balances from customers aged over 55. It’s estimated 1.3 million households over 55 are still paying their mortgage, of which 289,000 over 65 year olds are still saddled with a mortgage debt! These are the people who will be looking towards equity release solutions in 2014 & beyond.

 

 

3. Interest only Mortgage Prisoners – Worse still are the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) figures confirming the size of the ‘interest only time bomb’ looming. Of the volume of interest only mortgages due for repayment by 2020, 1 in 10 of these mortgages have NO repayment plan and upto 1.3 million interest only borrowers face shortfalls averaging £72,000.

 

So how will these people find these shortfalls and where do they turn for advice?

 

Well as we mentioned, lending into retirement has been constricted by the FCA’s stance and with MMR (Mortgage Market Review) being implemented in April 2014, lenders are under further scrutiny as proof of affordability becomes entirely their responsibility.

 

Therefore, as we are already seeing by the upturn in the volumes of business, the equity release industry is becoming the saviour for the interest only mortgage short fallers. In providing an equity release safety net, many of these trapped borrowers have another option than having reluctantly to sell their homes to fund the shortfall.

 

However, the solution will only be made available should loan-to-values fall within lender criteria, which for lifetime mortgages are currently stand at a maximum of 30% at age 65, rising to a maximum of 54% by age 85. These calculations can be confirmed using the Equity Release Supermarket calculator.

 

However, two further factors could influence these results; health & lifestyle and incomes.

 

Firstly, should a history of adverse health be prevalent then a range of enhanced lifetime mortgage products are available which will release a greater lump sum than standard equity release schemes. Secondly, the signs are more retirement mortgages could be introduced during 2014. Already the Hodge Retirement Mortgage has been bravely launched against the tide of lenders withdrawing such products. Currently, the Hodge Retirement Mortgage will lend upto 50% of the property value at the current interest rate of 4.75% (5.1% APR), subject to income(s). Click here for details on the Hodge Retirement Mortgage or call 0800 678 5159.

 

 

4. House Purchase/Moving Home – we are seeing the data already in 2014 from mortgage lenders regarding the upturn in mortgage lending which has been due to the housing market improving significantly. With support from the government with its ‘Help to Buy’ scheme, this has stimulated the housing market from the bottom end and resulted in a knock on effect up the ladder.

 

We are seeing an increasing number of Equity Release Supermarket clients using interest only lifetime mortgage products to assist with their house purchase. We can advise on products from Stonehaven, Hodge Lifetime & more2life whereby the interest element & possibly more can be repaid back to the lender with no penalty, & are becoming a high percentage of our overall equity release plan recommendations.

 

Additionally, we are experiencing retirees at a critical point in their lives looking to downsize, or move nearer to their families. This could be for disability or financial reasons and moving into a retirement properties where less maintenance is required. Purchasing such property may still require finance to bridge any shortfalls, or create surplus funds for other financial/personal reasons.

 

 

5. Burgeoning Confidence & Optimism – There has been a silver lining to the issues of retirement finance…PROPERTY. Staggeringly, 69% of the over 65 year old population own their home outright & unencumbered. The most recent research has calculated the over 65’s own a combined £752 billion in housing wealth!

 

With this kind of security behind them and the changing attitude towards inheritance is beginning to shape the equity release landscape we are seeing & being developed as we speak. Traditionally, roll-up equity release schemes were the norm. Compounding of interest put many people off releasing equity. As a consequence, interest only lifetime mortgages have come to the fore. In being able to control the balance by making regular or ad-hoc repayments, one can now maintain a level balance, or even reduce it year-on-year. We have evidenced the growth in inheritance protection via lifetime mortgages and will become another of the factors affecting the growth in equity release for 2014.

 

Flexibility is key for many now entering the market. One major step forward for equity release mortgages came with the advent of drawdown lifetime mortgages. Here borrowers can withdraw tax free cash in stages from a pre-agreed facility. Drawdown equity release now accounts for over 64% of all plans written during 2013. Hence, another good factor to influence the popularity moving into 2014.

 

Finally, we have the latest news there will be a new equity release provider in early February – Pure Retirement will be entering the market with an initial 2 product launch, followed by more products they anticipate later in the year. This comes hot on heels of recent press murmurings over the weekend that L&G could soon be re-entering the equity release arena after originally departing in 2004 when they white labelled Northern Rocks equity release proposal. There is also much product development behind the scenes with Aviva revamping their lifetime mortgage. Details once known will follow on this website.

 

All this development and equity release press coverage stokes up the interest in a market that has previously been in the doldrums, but has listened to the consumer & now developing products to match retirement planning needs.

 

Summary – Equity Release 2014

Equity Release will take off in 2014 because providers have listened to their customers and they can be very demanding and rightly so. Customers want flexibility, they’ve got it, Customers want no early repayment charges, they’ve now got it, Customers want to repay capital without penalty, they’ve got it, Customers want to pay off the interest, they’ve got it, and customers want to partially repay the interest without being tied or committed, guess what? …they’ve got it!

 

There has never been a better time to consider equity release, so here’s to looking forward to 2014.

 

Call freephone 0800 678 5159 to discuss any aspects of this article or complete our contact form to register for 2014 updates as & when they are announced.

 

 

How Equity Release Can Help You ‘Upsize’ while ‘Downsizing’

Monday, September 30th, 2013

downsizing in retirementWe often read comments in newspapers, or see reports on TV, that before taking equity release you should always consider your alternatives, as there maybe financial solutions that have not been previously considered. One of these which has created much debate recently is the possibility of downsizing.

 

This article, discusses the advantages of downsizing and how equity release schemes can still have an important role to play in such situations.

 

Equity Release versus Downsizing

The practice of downsizing, effectively means selling one property at a higher value than the one you wish to move into. Therefore, the equity generated from the price differential can be used to support you financially during retirement. This is usually the main reason for people deciding against taking equity release.

Downsizing is fine in principle, and it is one of the options Equity Release Supermarket advisers always discuss with clients. However, for economic and personal reasons, the idea of downsizing can be impractical.

 

Equity Release Case Study – How downsizing works in principle

Take for example Peter and Clare, both aged 73 and living in their semi-detached house worth £275,000 which they’ve owned for over 30 years. They are settled in the area, their family and friends are local to them and they feel comfortable and safe in their current surroundings.

Unfortunately, they still have a mortgage of £100,000 and the lender has informed them they will need to repay this by the time they reach the age of 75. Like many people in their situation, they do not have the money set aside to do so. Their family are in no position to help as they too are struggling to keep their own heads above water!

 

So what are their options?

  1. They could sell up, pay off the mortgage and look for another lower valued property. After taking into consideration the costs of moving this would mean considering properties around £165,000. Unfortunately, there are no properties of this value nearby, as even smaller properties locally that would still cost them in the region of £200,000.
  2. Consider a remortgage with another lender. This would involve switching their £100,000 mortgage to another lender. However, most high street banks & building societies will not allow borrowing beyond the age of 70, or even 75.

The only option it would seem is to have to move further away, to an area they would not feel comfortable with, and considering this would be their last ever move, it must be the right decision as happiness during retirement is key. This situation leads to anxiety and stress for the couple as their network of friends and family would no longer be around them and they would be moving to an unknown location which may turn out to be both undesirable and unpopular.

 

Therefore, only option 1 is feasible, but there is still the issue that the property would not be entirely suitable for their requirements moving forward.

 

Revised Case Study – The maths of upsizing

Let’s revisit option 1 again, as there is some good news for those that wish to downsize.

 

Equity release schemes can actually allow you to ‘up-size’ when moving house by using the equity release tax free cash to help fund the purchase of the new property. This would mean Peter & Clare still purchasing of a lower valued house. However, by using a new equity release plan in conjunction with the purchase, they can now attain property values of around £200,000+, which they needed to stay near to where they currently live.

 

Taking Peter & Clare’s example again. The couple are both aged 73. Using the Equity Release Supermarket calculator, they could borrow upto £78,000 on a property worth £200000, on a roll-up lifetime mortgage basis.

 

This would enable them to purchase the £200,000 property; by using £165,000 of their own equity, plus the difference coming from an equity release plan. In fact given the equity release calculation figures they could go even higher if they wished to do so, or even use some of the surplus to have a small emergency fund for the future which is missing at the moment.

 

Now Peter & Clare have come to terms with the downsizing, the couple can now consider fine tuning their equity release solutions.

 

In fact, they could consider a lender allowing interest payments – commonly known as an interest only lifetime mortgage provided by companies such as Stonehaven. These off-set the effect of the rolled up interest, but unlike their existing mortgage which comes to an end in two years’ time, a scheme such as Stonehaven’s Interest Select Plan would be open-ended and therefore run for the rest of their life.

 

In some cases, depending on their state of health, Peter & Clare may be eligible for more money if they could take advantage of enhanced lifetime mortgage rates offered by some lenders. These enhanced lifetime mortgage schemes can lend more than any standard lifetime mortgage & give that extra amount making all the difference.

 

Upsizing Summary

So as a solution, what does this up-sizing option offer: –

  • The opportunity for the couple to repay their existing mortgage in full
  • To move to a location near to their current property, ensuring that they can maintain the support of family and friends
  • To continue to live in a safe environment with familiar surroundings including local amenities which have become increasingly important to them, such as their doctor and local hospital along with good transport links and shop
  • To purchase a property which they’re happy with rather than taking on a property ‘because they have no choice’

 

To down-size is an option which may be suitable to some, but like all decisions taken it needs careful consideration. This is where specialist equity release advice can make all the difference to retirees making such important financial decisions in retirement.

Having an alternative in the form of equity release scheme or interest only lifetime mortgage may enable them to make a decision based on a more practical  solution and providing clients ‘peace of mind’, something which is not commonly advised upon in the news.

 

Equity Release Supermarket has experienced advisers who have dealt with such situations & can therefore make all the difference to people over 55 & in retirement.

 

If you wish to ask, or discuss anything with regards to his article with our team please call Freephone 0800 678 5159 or email admin@equityreleasesupermarket.co.uk

 

Equity Release Becomes the New Inter Generational Equity Vehicle

Wednesday, July 17th, 2013

With changing attitudes towards inheritance planning, and generational gifting becoming increasing common practice, we look at why equity release is being more widely used as the retirement vehicle of choice.

Having advised on equity release schemes for the past 14 years, we’ve witnessed firsthand the sea change in perceptions over how much of an inheritance parents are now wishing to leave their children.

 

Couple this with the growing acceptance of retirement equity release schemes by the over 55’s, we are now seeing real evidence through equity release enquiries the lengths parents are actually prepared to go to for their children.

 

Why a shift towards equity release?

In the early days of lifetime mortgage & home reversion plans, people were looking towards a release of equity mainly for lifestyle purposes; a new car, holiday or extra income. Today’s economic environment throws a different light on the real purposes for releasing equity – necessity (mainly debt consolidation) and generational gifting.

 

Equity release schemes are now providing a vehicle of choice for many that were once looking towards the retirement mortgage market when they reached state pension age. With schemes such as the Halifax Retirement Home Plan now being made redundant & mortgagees reigning in their lending criteria on the much maligned interest only mortgage, it has left little scope for retirees to find a route into secured lending.

 

How can equity release schemes assist?

Basically anyone over the age of 55, with a main residence valued above £70,000 could become eligible for an equity release mortgage. Further criteria does apply, such as any existing mortgage, property type etc, however in principle age & valuation are the main eligibility factors.

 

To ascertain your maximum release, tools such as our equity release calculator are available on the Equity Release Supermarket website. Based on the age of the youngest applicant & the current sale value of your home, the equity release calculation will prove of assistance as to whether you can raise sufficient funds to meet your financial objectives.

 

For those with an outstanding mortgage leading upto, or actually in retirement, equity release schemes have become a get out of jail card. Having a mortgage at retirement is not a crime, however the ability to repay it has become a problem for many as lenders are beginning to tighten their belts on mortgages into retirement. We have instances of clients anticipating renewal of their mortgage at retirement, only to see panic set in when their lender refuses to extend & then rub salt in the wound by demanding repayment. This would ultimately result in either a remortgage, which is becoming increasingly difficult, or sale of the property to downsize. Neither offer stress free options!

 

Bearing in mind these mortgages were actually set up with a final repayment end date, one cannot always expect in today’s economic environment the banks to be that sympathetic in such instances. However, some leniency would be welcomed, or maybe that’s just wishful thinking.

 

Equity release functionality

We have therefore seen how people are entering retirement still tied down with a mortgage. However, there are also an increasing number with unsecured debts, predominantly credit cards which people have trouble shifting once their income drops entering retirement. Perhaps realisation that there income has fallen hasn’t yet set in, which coupled with household spending continuing apace, sees the error of their ways without re-addressing the fundamental principle of ‘budgeting’.

 

The ‘equity release safety net‘ is becoming a credible solution for many in such situations. By taking a lifetime mortgage scheme, whether on a roll-up basis or more commonly an interest only lifetime mortgage, the debts can be consolidated into a secured loan fixed for the rest of their life. Depending on affordability once the debts were cleared, and attitude towards children’s inheritance, would determine whether the interest only, or roll-up version is selected.

 

Choosing roll-up means NO monthly payments. This has a benefit in leaving a household budget with a greater disposable income, particularly if all debts have been repaid. The negative aspect of roll-up is that the balance will increase over time therefore eroding, all or some of the kid’s inheritance. There are other factors that could affect the size of the inheritance, the main one being how much property values could increase by over their lifetime. Everyone has their own opinion on that.

 

Selecting an interest only lifetime mortgage engages an element of future discipline in that regular payments need to be maintained. However, there are significant advantages. These are that as the interest is being paid monthly, the debt will remain level for the duration. This has the added benefit that if house prices do increase, there could be an even larger inheritance to leave, even after you have taken a release of equity for yourself. With interest rates on these schemes starting at 5.59% (6.0% APR) and fixed for life, interest only lifetime mortgages now offer a credible equity release solution for many that were starting to despair at their lack of options.

 

Equity release gifting acts as a form of ‘early inheritance’

Finally, we touch on the growing realisation that children seem to have of accessing their inheritance now, rather than later. With difficulty for first time buyers in the current property market, the younger generation have turned to the bank of mum & dad for the answer to getting on the property ladder – using equity release.

 

This has been the biggest change in attitude we have seen in the 14 years of equity release schemes.

 

It has been two-fold: –

  1. the acceptance of parents to gift an inheritance now rather than later
  2. that the stigma of having to leave an inheritance when they die has gone

 

Increasingly, parents are taking equity out of their properties to gift to their children, mainly to invest in another property, occasionally for business or divorce purposes. It maybe all too easy for the children to say they would like their inheritance now, which is all well & fine if this is being taken out of their parents house & re-invested into their first property. Couple this with the governments help to buy scheme & providing 20% deposits leaves some children not having to strain themselves too much financially these days, judging by the many options available.

 

A great idea or not?

Some may say so; others may feel that the younger generation gets it too easy these days. Mortgages of old were also hard to come by & you had to save over a long period of time to find your deposit. Your lender even had to be the bank you held your account with!

It just seems the ‘I want it now’ attitude has arrived & the old fashioned ways of striving to find the deposit seem to have disappeared.

 

Whatever the consensus of opinion is, equity release is here to stay and finding such helpful scenarios of inter-generational gifting to become an advantage is certainly to be welcomed.

 

To discuss the topical areas within this article, or find out more about equity release and its uses, please contact the Equity Release Supermarket team on Freephone 0800 678 5159.

 

If you prefer to discuss in confidence, please send your email to mark@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.

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

 

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

 

Stonehaven Equity Release Schemes – Now Available In Scotland

Friday, April 20th, 2012

 

News today in the equity release sector, is that Stonehaven’s range of equity release schemes are now available in mainland Scotland.

 

Stonehaven have been providing equity release mortgages in England and Wales since August 2006. However, due to strong demand for its range of interest only lifetime mortgages entitled ‘Interest Select’ plans, they have now incorporated the Scottish legal process into their equity release application. Therefore, with previous limited availability in Scotland for interest only lifetime mortgages, this should come as a great relief for many over 55′s in Scotland needing financial support for their retirement.

 

Why Has the Stonehaven Interest Select Plan Become So Popular?

Opinion is split whenever deciding to take a release of equity from a retiree’s property. Gone are the days when a one-off tax free lump sum was the only option. With the increasing flexibility in the market such as the drawdown lifetime mortgage & new enhanced equity release schemes, lenders are looking more towards ‘niche’ equity release plans.

 

Having captured the interest only mortgage market for the over 55′s, Stonehaven who were originally funded by Santander have come, gone, & are now back with there revised range of Interest Select Options & Lump Sum Plans. With healthy lending for 2012 & with the backing of a large mutual enhanced annuities provider, Stonehaven are now broadening their horizons & diversifying into Scotland.

 

People over the age of 55 are looking at different means of releasing equity from their property. Not only that, there are different financial attitudes towards their property & ultimate inheritance. This has increased awareness of the impact that roll-up equity release schemes have had on people’s inheritance on schemes previously taken out. Due to the compounding effect of the interest on roll-up schemes, many retirees have turned up their noses to conventional equity release mortgages.

 

This is where Stonehaven as an equity release company has benefitted. Possibly due somewhat to the demise of the Halifax Retirement Home Plan, Equity Release Supermarket advisers have seen a significant rise in enquiries for an interest only lifetime mortgage. There is a strong demand for an interest only mortgage for the over 55′s, and this signifies the fact that a majority of pensioners still have income to support a retirement mortgage. This age group has many advantages to prospective mortgage lenders, however for reasons discussed later in this article, they are significantly overlooked.

 

Why have Mortgages for Pensioners been Overlooked?

With a large proportion of equity in their properties, hence low loan-to-values, usually a good credit history & repayment record, the over 55′s are favourable for a mortgage where interest only repayment is only required. The Stonehaven range of Interest Select Plans have given this situation much thought, not only to the positive aspects, but also to the negatives in particular if someone encounters financial difficulties during the term of their plan. They have a specific ‘safety net’ in place that has the option that upon missing 3 monthly payments, or the planholder opts not to make anymore monthly payments, the plan can converted over to a roll-up lifetime mortgage. This removes any concern over incurring a poor credit record & eliminates any risk of repossession.

In addition the Protected Equity guarantee is available which can ensure that your beneficiaries receive a percentage of the final sale value of the property. Peace of mind for sure.

 

The Interest Only Mortgage Ticking ‘Timebomb’

Previous articles have discussed the FSA (Financial Services Authority) crackdown on mortgage lenders offering interest only deals. Correctly, this has made pre-retirement applications for interest only mortgages more stringent & more capital & repayment mortgages are now taken as a result.

However, this sweeping clampdown has also impacted on the post-retirement mortgage market. It seems the old adage ‘tarred with the same brush’ has been applied to the whole demographic mortgage population. It shouldn’t, as a different set of rules & principles apply to mortgages in retirement. Retirement mortgages should be made more available on an interest only or capital & repayment basis. There should be more understanding from the powers that be that the needs of pensioners are significantly different than those pre-retirement.

 

Retirees do not necessarily need, or want the eventual repayment of capital. Considering the FSA are regulating & accepting the principle of roll-up equity release schemes, then why the reluctance for interest only mortgages in retirement?

Exceptions should be made & this sector of the mortgage market be subject to a further review.

 

Nevertheless, one company who has received FSA & SHIP (Safe Home Income Plan) approval for its interest only retirement mortgage is Stonehaven. With foresight of circumstances to come & which were conceived over a decade ago, Stonehaven are currently, & will be, reeping the benefits.

Endowment shortfalls are now becoming more evident & with Aviva only expecting 1% of its low cost endowment plans to meet their targets in 2012, then we can see why mortgages into retirement are going to become a common occurrence. In addition for many reasons people are approaching retirement with a mortgage and no form of repayment. With lenders such as Santander, Woolwich, Halifax & Nationwide not extending terms for those reaching the end of their interest only mortgage terms, a solution for their plight needs to be found.

 

Stonehaven Solutions

Well, this is where Stonehaven see’s how their interest only lifetime mortgage can resolve such issues. Dependent on the size of the mortgage & property valuation, Stonehaven maybe be able to assist. By using the Stonehaven equity release calculator, one can ascertain the maximum amount they could lend & hopefully assist in remortgaging from the previous lender. This would be the ideal situation, but not always the best. Alternatives should be considered such as downsizing, using savings or getting assistance from family & friends, however this may not be in the best interests of the mortgagors & family ties may over rule such as decision.

 

If Stonehaven can raise sufficient equity on your property to repay the mortgage, it would mean transferring onto a lifetime mortgage product which then eliminates any concerns over repayment in the future. In fact repayment is only required upon 2nd death or moving into long term care. The only obligation during the term is to maintain interest only payments which will remain EXACTLY the same for life due to the lifetime fixed interest rate which currently start from 6.08% (6.40% typical APR).

 

Therefore, someone borrowing £25,000 on the Stonehaven Interest Select Lite plan would find their monthly payments at just £119.96pm fixed for life!

 

Next Steps

To discuss your interest only lifetime mortgage options & alternatives as to whether the Stonehaven equity release plans are suitable to meet your requirements, contact your local independent adviser at Equity Release Supermarket by calling  freephone 0800 678 5159.

 

Additionally, visit the Equity Release Supermarket website & read the dedicated Stonehaven Interest Select page detailing the product features & current rates available. Here you can request a Stonehaven quote & gain a greater understanding of all Stonehaven’s schemes.

 

What is an Impaired Life or Enhanced Equity Release Plan?

Saturday, February 18th, 2012

There is no denying the fact that an impaired life or enhanced equity release plan sounds a little cold and cruel – after all, the actuaries at the insurance companies have number crunched their statistics to come up with a more attractive plan if you are able to prove that you’re less likely to live as long as the average person. However, just for once in this world, this is a type of financial plan that could definitely work in your favour if you are in poor health – now how often does that happen?

 

Bearing in mind that the standard equity release plan will be based on an average life expectancy (of say around 80+ years of age), standard plans presume that the client will remain within their property for a certain number of years. Therefore, the equity release UK company will have to wait until the clients have either passed away or moved into permanent residential care before they are able to finalise the plan and reclaim their equity in the property.

 

If you qualify for the impaired life equity release scheme you would prove to the equity release provider that you are unlikely to remain within your property for such a long period of time and therefore the lender would be able to finalise the plan more quickly. This is where more favourable rates and payouts may be available to an applicant for an impaired life equity release plan and this can even be around 30% more advantageous.

 

Applying for an impaired or enhanced equity release plan is only slightly more involved than the standard lifetime mortgage or home reversion plan; you will be required to complete a short health & lifestyle questionnaire that asks if you have ever been diagnosed with certain medical conditions. At the end of the application, if it is presumed that your life may be impaired, you could qualify for a much bigger lump sum from your equity release plan.

 

Just as it is possible to use an equity release calculator to ascertain the expected level of payout for a standard policy, so too can you use this tool to work out what level of payout would be available for an impaired life equity release plan. However, these impaired life equity release calculators are not always entirely accurate. This reason being is that some enhanced equity release lenders such as more2life have varying degrees of enhancement. This is due to the severity of the ill-health the applicant maybe experiencing. The greater the number of illnesses, the greater the potential equity release tax free lump sum.

There are very few times in this life where ill health can actually deliver a better financial reward, but with impaired life equity release schemes from the likes of: –

  • AVIVA  – Lump Sum Max plan

 

If you can get past the actuaries working for these equity release providers and would really appreciate some much needed cash at the moment, investigate the possibility of such an impaired life plan and get out there and start living your life to the full.

Equity Release Supermarket has access to impaired or enhanced equity release schemes. These come with exclusive offers such as free valuation & cashback deals. To receive a enhanced equity release quote or product factsheet please complete our contact form.

 

To evaluate whether you qualify why not call the equity release team on 0800 678 5159 or email mark@equityreleasesupermarket.co.uk

 

 

What is the Maximum Equity Release Payout that I Can Expect?

Monday, January 30th, 2012

If you have been seriously considering taking out an equity release plan, the most important question to come to mind will be ‘what is the maximum equity release available?’

 

Obviously, you may not want to secure everything you can get, however, a useful equity release calculator can advise upto the maximum available. For instance with a drawdown equity release plan, it would be helpful if you knew the maximum, as any funds not taken in such a scheme would then be held in a reserve facility for future use.

You will also need to bear in mind that there are certain factors that will be taken into account in order to arrive at the figure that would be released to you in such a plan.

 

First and foremost, your age will be a very important factor. The younger you are, the less you can expect to have released in an equity release scheme. You would tend to find that the companies that deal in equity release plans add an extra percentage point of LTV (loan-to-value) for each year the applicant gets older.

This is because the relevant company has to estimate how long it is likely to be until they will be able to secure the final equity – i.e. your property. If you take out an equity release mortgage when you are in your late-fifties or early-sixties, you can expect to receive a far lower payout than if you were to have taken out the plan in your eighties, for example. This is purely down to life expectancies which are increasing all the time as people are healthier & more active in their retirement years.

 

You should also bear in mind, at this stage that the companies dealing in equity release schemes have a minimum age threshold in place and this is generally set at 55 years of age. These would be companies such as Aviva, New Life Mortgages, and Stonehaven. However, some equity release companies such as Just Retirement & LV= impose a higher minimum age of 60 before you can apply.

The next factor that will be taken into account is the actual market value of your property. Again, the higher this is, the more you can expect to receive in your payout. There are minimum value thresholds in place here as well which is £60,000. However, most companies impose higher minimum values & £75,000 or £100,000 isn’t uncommon.

If you are looking to take out an equity release plan in a joint application, the youngest applicant’s age will be the deciding factor as to the amount of money that will be released in the payout. This is because the company must wait for both applicants to either pass away or move into permanent residential care and the youngest applicant will be the most likely to vacate the property last in either capacity. Also, as stated earlier, the youngest person in the couple must also be over the age of 55.

 

There are convenient equity release calculators on many websites that will give you a very good idea of the amount of money to be expected as a payout when you take out such a plan. All you need do is simply complete an online enquiry form and these will return the maximum value that may be available to you in an equity release scheme. If you are happy with this figure, you may then go ahead and start the ball rolling with the relevant company; there is also a facility to discuss equity release mortgages in more detail with a qualified equity release adviser, if you have further questions that require attention.

 

 
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