Posts Tagged ‘Equity Release Supermarket’
Thursday, March 28th, 2013
It’s been a long time coming, as the song goes but Scotland is at last catching up with the rest of the UK when it comes to the uptake of equity release schemes.
The reason the Scottish equity release market has not grown as quickly in the past as the rest of the UK is that a lot of Scottish homeowners have very close family ties and traditions and want to leave their property and estate as inheritance for their families and have been happy in the past to either down size or make do.
One of the common objections to equity release in Scotland was the loss of inheritance for the family. However, with the new range of equity release mortgages this loss of potential inheritance can be resigned to the past.
In the last year alone, many changes have taken place within the equity release market. All equity release schemes Equity Release Supermarket recommend still have the ‘SHIP’ standard – a ‘no-negative equity guarantee’ built into them. SHIP has now come under the auspices of the Equity Release Council in maintaining this important protection feature.
Latest equity release schemes
In addition to the no negative equity guarantee, new innovative plans have been introduced with options such as the Inheritance Protection Guarantee, where a percentage of the property value can be ring fenced to protect the family inheritance. This provides peace of mind in protecting a fixed final amount of the property value to be left as an inheritance for the family at the end of the day.
Hodge Lifetime have recently brought out a roll-up lifetime mortgage plan where they will allow up to 10% of the capital borrowed to be repaid each year by cheque, again a way to protect the loan from the effects of the roll up of interest. Not only can the interest be repaid, but additionally a proportion of the capital by paying the maximum 10%pa in repayments. Effectively this renders the Hodge Lifetime scheme a capital & repayment equity release mortgage!
Stonehaven have also moved into Scotland with an interest only lifetime mortgage. The Stonehaven Interest Select plans operate on an interest only basis with a balance that remains constant throughout the mortgage term. This continues so as long as the monthly payments are made, resulting in a loan that will never be more than the initial amount at the start of the plan.
These Stonehaven equity release schemes in Scotland are eventually repaid from the sale of the property. The interest rates are currently the lowest we have seen from Stonehaven since they started over 6 years ago at just 5.99%.
Scottish interest only mortgage enquiries
From the number of interest only lifetime mortgage enquiries Equity Release Supermarket now receive in Scotland, many people have also noticed this, and taken advantage of these low interest rates which are then fixed for life. Providing security, not only for inheritance purposes, but also in fixed lifetime monthly payments is something that the over 55’s in Scotland are looking for.
Equity release plans are not only weathering the economic downturn, they are offering a much needed lifeline to homeowners in this time of austerity. It may not be the best option for everyone in Scotland and by seeking independent financial advice it is important you also consider any alternatives beforehand.
Nevertheless, if you are sitting with a lot of equity in your home and you are over 55 years of age why deny yourself a good lifestyle in retirement, when unlocking some of the equity in the home could help make life a lot more comfortable for you, or your loved ones.
In this growing equity release market with new providers and new plans coming along it is more important than ever to get the correct advice from a specialist dealing in equity release such as the Equity Release Supermarket.
If you wish to find out more about any of the plans mentioned then do not hesitate in making contact with the author of this article – Nigel Hall who would be more than happy to help.
To request a free initial consultation on the range of equity release schemes available in Scotland call Nigel Hall on 07553 408010 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Wednesday, March 27th, 2013
Equity release schemes have risen in the popularity stakes over the past 12 months. With regular articles in the tabloids, and increasing government awareness, lifetime mortgages have certainly raised the bar. But how does equity release actually work in the whole scheme of things, and why has it become such topical subject matter for those looking for a comfortable lifestyle in retirement?
Equity release workings
Primarily equity release is available to home owners where the youngest person on the deeds is at least aged 55. Equity release works by allowing eligible people to raise tax free cash from the equity tied up in their home. The amount that can be released is based on an age-related ascending percentage of the value of the home. In other words, the older you are, the more you can raise!
For example a single person in good health, aged 65, with a property value of £250,000 could raise a maximum of 30% of the property value. This would mean a maximum equity release of upto £75,000 with Aviva.
Even better, is the fact there are now impaired life schemes that offer ‘enhanced’ rates to people who are not as fit and healthy as they used to be and these schemes increase the percentage that can be drawn.
Therefore, if the same person was a smoker with high blood pressure, having diabetes & a history of heart attacks could now release upto £115,500 on the Partnership enhanced lifetime mortgage scheme.
Popular uses for equity release
The money raised from any equity release scheme can be used for any legal purpose from clearing credit card balances and existing mortgages, to helping children or grandchildren with deposits to climb onto the property ladder. However, many would be treating themselves to some lifestyle indulgences such as a new car, world cruise or home improvements.
Today’s equity release schemes
The modern format of Equity Release started in the mid 1990s with Hodge Lifetime (part of Julian Hodge Bank), Norwich Union (now Aviva) & Northern Rock (now Papilio UK) with a simple roll up lifetime mortgage.
Today there are three basic equity release schemes:-
1) Roll up Lifetime Mortgage
This type of scheme has a few variations but basically the borrower takes an initial tax free lump sum, makes no monthly payments and the accrued interest is added to the loan and compounds annually.
The main variation to this is the “drawdown lifetime mortgage“ scheme. This is where only the immediately required amount is drawn down and a reserve cash facility is then offered with the remainder. No interest is accrued on this drawdown facility until it is taken in the future. The advantage here by taking it in smaller amounts is that interest is compounded at a much slower rate, than if it had be taken all at once.
Another variation of a roll up plan is offered through Hodge Lifetime on a roll-up basis. Hodge’s flexible repayment plan has an option to repay up to 10% of the original amount borrowed annually without any early repayment charges. Hodge also offer a unique ‘downsizing protection’ option whereby after five years, if the property is then sold and the owner moves & downsizes house, then no early repayment charges apply. A great solution for many who cannot sell now, but may do so in the future.
2) Interest Only Lifetime Mortgage Plans
There are two lenders currently offering this type of interest only scheme – Stonehaven and more2Life. Both schemes are fairly simple whereby a lump sum is withdrawn and the monthly interest is paid in order to maintain the balance outstanding level throughout the term.
This method has proved appealing to parents who are keen to minimise any inheritance reduction for their children. In recent times, since the withdrawal of the Halifax Retirement Home Plan lifetime interest only mortgages have become increasingly popular. Both these Equity Release Interest Only schemes have the added safety feature that should the monthly payments become too much (one applicant dying and their pension income reducing) then it can revert to a roll up equity release plan, where no payments are required thereafter.
3) The Home Reversion Plan
This is now the least popular type of equity release mortgage. Nevertheless, it can prove to be the best advice in certain scenarios. The workings are that the homeowner(s) must have a minimum age of 65. They have the option of selling part, or all of their property to the reversion provider and then lives in that property, usually rent free, for the rest of their life. In truth, this is usually only appropriate when there are no beneficiaries to the estate, or they wish to leave a guaranteed percentage of the final value of the house to their children.
Home reversion schemes only account for less than 5% of the market these days. The market has seen a few withdrawals from the market by lenders such as Aviva and Retirement Plus. The three remaining home reversion providers are Hodge Lifetime, New Life & Bridgewater.
About the author
The author of this article is Barry Adnams, who is a senior equity release adviser at Equity Release Supermarket.
Barry is aware of what a monumental decision taking equity release can be. He is a traditional adviser that would always advocate a home meeting with family involvement. Barry offers an initial cost free ‘face to face’ appointment and likes to include as many family members as possible to be present to discuss whether taking equity release is the right option, or not.
If you want to benefit from the experience Barry has to offer and understand how equity release works further, then please contact Barry Adnams at Equity Release Supermarket, on 07989 281108 for a free initial consultation. Alternatively please email email@example.com.
Wednesday, March 13th, 2013
The 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.
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 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: -
- 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.
- 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.
Friday, February 15th, 2013
Are you one of those lifetime mortgage borrowers who were originally with Northern Rock but, since March 2012, have seen the ownership of your mortgage transferred to Papilio UK Equity Release Mortgages Ltd, a subsidiary of J P Morgan?
If so, do you realise that you are probably paying interest at more than 1.3% higher than rates charged by some other lifetime mortgage lenders? And Papilio UK Equity Release no longer allows you to take further loans from the equity in your home, an option Northern Rock originally considered!
If so, you could make considerable savings by the simple process of remortgaging to another regulated lifetime mortgage lender. With equity release schemes now in the prime of their life, now has never been a better time anyway to consider an equity release remortgage.
For example, assuming you remortgaged an equity release balance of £50,000 onto a fixed rate of 5.60% instead of the 6.99% currently charged by Papilio UK, after 10 years you could save yourselves, and your beneficiaries approximately £12,000 in interest charges.
Competitiveness & Flexibility of New Plans
Depending upon the value of your home, many new lenders will allow you access to further loans either immediately, or by providing a cash reserve to draw upon at your discretion. Drawdown lifetime mortgages now account for the majority of equity release schemes taken out and provide best advice for those retirees that only need a smaller upfront lump sum, but may require additional cash in the future.
Modern day lifetime mortgage schemes have surpassed the rigid plans of old. Since Northern Rock (aka Papilio) withdrew providing equity release mortgages the market has seen diversification unseen before. With the advent of interest only lifetime mortgage schemes, we have experience of people actually switching from old roll-up lifetime mortgage plans. Where they feel the balance has reached a point whereby they no longer want it to increase any further, they can switch to an interest only lifetime mortgage. This option may never have been available in the past.
A free initial comparison offer
Should you have a Papilio UK equity release mortgage then you will undoubtedly be paying over the odds on your interest rate. Many people contact us who hold an existing Northern Rock mortgage and ask for the Papilio UK equity release mortgages ltd telephone number to contact them. Equity Release Supermarket has advisers that are experienced in analysing whether it would be in one’s interest to switch equity release schemes.
As acknowledged specialists, Equity Release Supermarket has given objective advice to increasing numbers of applicants seeking to remortgage from Papilio UK and we have guided them painlessly through the remortgage process.
The switch analysis will take into account the set up costs of the proposed new equity release mortgage. These costs can be lower than anticipated, especially as J P Morgan/Papilio equity release have indicated in the past that they will waive early repayment charges.
Allied to the current practice of many lenders offering free valuations and paying “cashbacks” of upto £1000, then equity release companies such as Aviva can offer a new safe haven for your mortgage. By providing a smooth transition in the equity release application process you can seamlessly transfer you Papilio (Northern Rock) equity release plan to a more competitive rate benefitting yourself & beneficiaries in the long run. Aviva are currently offering rates to Equity Release Supermarket customers starting at 5.57% annual.
If you want to join those who have successfully made the transition then please do contact Mike Vicary of Equity Release Supermarket, on 07795 195302 for a free initial consultation.
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: -
- Lower interest rate
- Further borrowings
- 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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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 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 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 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 email@example.com
Sunday, December 30th, 2012
This article looks at why a release of equity from your home may NOT be in your best interests, after all Equity Release Supermarket is an impartial website and we only want what is best for our customers. Whether that is to proceed, delay and consider the alternatives or to dismiss outright, we will always provide you with a decision that is in YOUR best interests.
Equity release schemes are becoming a popular solution for homeowners aged over 55 who want to raise cash without having to sell their property. Although the safeties of equity release schemes are now assured by regulation, the decision to take equity from your property may still not be in your best interests.
Start of the equity release planning process
While there are different types of equity release schemes such as Lifetime Mortgages, Home Reversion and Interest Only Lifetime Mortgages, essentially they all act as a vehicle to release some of the equity that is built into your property, and you only need to repay it only once the house is eventually sold.
This is all well and good, however you should never shoe horn an equity release plan to fit your personal needs. In fact the opposite should be the case. Any equity release plan should be designed to meet your own personal goals & circumstances. If they don’t, then look towards the alternatives.
The fact that you are considering releasing equity means you have a need for financial planning and require funds to meet your monetary objectives. There is nothing wrong with that. Throughout our adult lives, circumstances will dictate that some form of finance will be required, whether it’s a mortgage, loan, overdraft or the credit card. As long as the finance selected was the right product for the right reasons, then it should prove the correct decision to make.
This premise remains the same even throughout retirement. The needs of the baby boomer generation are now proving more expansive than previous retired generations. With long term health improving & the over 60’s having a more active lifestyle, retirees have a flavour of living a more care free life and fulfilling their ambitions and dreams. However, jumping to the conclusion that an equity release loan is the only answer, may prove to be a mistake.
When should equity release be a ‘NO’
For every reason why one should take a release of equity, there are as many reasons also why not to. Here we look at the reasons and alternatives why you should think twice about taking out an equity release mortgage, be it a home reversion or one of the many lifetime mortgages.
1. Age – equity release schemes are not available until the youngest homeowner is 55 years attained. There are instances whereby one person may 55+ and their partner is younger. Under these circumstances it is still possible to take a lifetime mortgage only, however this should really be only under exceptional circumstances such as poor health or the management of serious debt issues (maybe to avoid bankruptcy or house repossession). The age factor is an important principle behind one of the negative issues surrounding the equity release loan – compounding of the interest. Remember, the younger you are when releasing equity from your property, the more time the capital has to compound on a yearly basis.
The consequential effect of a longer term is that the final balance will be larger; resulting in more of the proceeds from the eventual sale of the property needing to be paid back to the lender. Bear in mind this will not be paid back by you, you won’t be around, unless the lifetime mortgage is being repaid due to moving into a residential care home! It will effectively be paid back by your children/beneficiaries.
NOTE -the resultant effect of a longer compounding interest charging period is that the final balance being much higher and a correspondingly much lower inheritance for your children/beneficiaries. If this is something that concerns you, request an equity release quote and see what the potential balance could be in the future. Making certain assumptions on future property values and your anticipated life expectancy would provide an estimate of how much equity could be left, if any at all. Should this be prohibitive, then a solution, if right for your circumstances would be to delay you decision for a few years until such a time the roll-up effect hasn’t as greater an effect.
2. Consider possible alternatives – equity release should really be considered a ‘last resort’ once all the alternative forms of finance have been eliminated. The reason for this statement is due to the long term cost of these schemes, whereas some of the alternatives, if affordable could be more reasonable and favourable for your children or beneficiaries. As part of the Equity Release Supermarket advice service all our advisers will consider whether any alternative forms of raising finance would be better for you. These could include the following: -
- Interest only or interest only lifetime mortgage – if you can comfortably afford to make repayments during retirement then look at such schemes. Interest only or interest only lifetime mortgages would be better for your children as there is NO compounding of interest. The balance would remain the same throughout the term as when the mortgage started. Therefore, the final balance will be known in advance and any inheritance can be ascertained using assumptions on future property prices. With the minimum equity release loan available being £10,000, alternative loan types maybe better. Could a personal loan or credit card be used to service the debt? Certainly options to consider that would also clear the debt, rather than it increasing like an equity release loan.
- Downsizing – dependent upon the size of your current property and its uses, then moving to a smaller property could be a solution. By downsizing to a lower valued property would raise money that could then fund your financial objectives. If nothing else, it could delay the decision to take equity release for many years. This is an important decision and not to be taken lightly. There are costs involved in moving house – stamp duty, legal fees etc and there will undoubtedly be improvements you wish to make to your new property which will also include additional costs. Moving to a new area will also mean new neighbours, facilities such as shops, doctors etc should always be considered as part of the downsizing process.
- Check for means tested benefits – Before taking any form of additional finance in retirement, it would be prudent to check whether you have any entitlement to means tested benefits. This could include state benefits such as pension credit, savings credit or even council tax benefit. Therefore, always check with the Pensions Office or your local council to establish whether you could claim further income for the state. This would only relate to lower income issues and should your income fall below the thresholds set by the authorities then you may have some entitlement. Having this extra income may solve or temporarily solve the need for equity release. If you are entitled to means tested benefits it would also be sensible to check whether any home improvement grants are available on your property. This could be even if you are planning home improvements or not. You may be eligible for loft insulation, cavity wall insulation or boiler replacement under some local authorities.
NOTE – if you still pursue a release of equity and you are drawing state benefits, the equity release lump sum could result in a partial or total reduction in means tested benefits. If you wish to check your eligibility for means tested benefits you can check with you local equity release adviser on 0800 678 5159.
- Use existing savings/family bequests – if you have savings or investments that are not used for income purposes then you should consider using these funds before taking equity from your property. Bear in mind that taking equity from your property and merely leaving it languishing in a bank account is not best advice. In today’s interest rate world you will not receive a better interest rate on a bank account than the interest being charged on an equity release scheme. Therefore, use any savings or liquid investments first, but bear in mind that an emergency fund of upto £10,000 is also prudent to have for that rainy day. This decision is always down to the individual as some clients feel more comfortable leaving greater sums on deposit, just in case. There is also no shame in asking family members for financial support, particularly when the decision to take equity release may not be to their approval due to the effect on their inheritance! Should a family member wish to fund your loan then this may be more cost effective for them, but this could boil down to whether they are happy tying up these monies longer term when they may have their own family needs in the near future.
Evidently, there are many factors and solutions that can affect the eventual decision as to whether equity release is right for you. For that reason it is imperative to speak to a financial adviser who is trained & qualified in equity release solutions.
To speak to your local equity release adviser click here or call Freephone 0800 678 5159 where independent advice is available.
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
HSBC 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.
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…
|| Product Name
|| Lifestyle Flexible Option
||Lowest interest rate currently in the market.Rates currently start from 5.57% and come with free valuation and cashbacks
|| Interest Select Plan
||An interest only lifetime mortgage. Monthly payments help maintain a level balance.Great inheritance protection for the children
|| 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 firstname.lastname@example.org or call the Equity Release Supermarket team on 0800 678 5159.