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Posts Tagged ‘Halifax Retirement Home Plan’

How the New Marsden Retirement Mortgage Can Help Boost Equity Release Lending

Saturday, September 26th, 2015

Marsden Retirement MortgageEquity release specialists are crying out for greater innovation in its product range to lenders at a time when the lifetime mortgage market potentially enters the biggest growth phase of its history. Failure to do so could result in products such as the new Marsden Building Society Retirement Mortgage & the Vernon Interest Only Retirement Mortgage shaping retirement lending to the over 55’s in the years to come.

 

Here I would like to share my views on why the equity release industry needs a major rethink of its products, understands more of its consumer requirements & how some of the smaller lenders such as Marsden & Vernon may have an impact on this thought process, even future product design.

 

Is Equity Release Innovating Sufficiently?

The launch in September 2015 of the Marsden Retirement Mortgage could represent a wake up call to equity release companies, which until now have offered little in the way of sweeping changes, consistent with driving the post retirement lending market forward.

 

Until now, lending into retirement has been hampered by the after effects of MMR (Mortgage Market Review) and how lenders gauge affordability for pensioner mortgages. This has seen terms ‘interest only time bomb’ being banded about as high street lenders start reigning in their mortgage book, when normally then would have renewed or extended mortgage terms. This has left mortgagors stranded with the dilemma of having to decide whether to sell & downsize, or find alternative lending such as lifetime mortgages.

 

These mortgage prisoners have been one of the main reasons why the equity release industry has seen major growth recently & should not be fooled somewhat into thinking it itself has played a part in its own expansion. Equity release must not become Mr Complacency. People looking to offload their traditional mortgages in favour of a voluntary repayment lifetime mortgage or interest only lifetime mortgage has been clearly evident at Equity Release Supermarket. This market has still not reached its peak, yet innovative products are still out of reach for this purge in demand awaiting redemption & rebirth.

 

The Corridor of Uncertainty that exists between Residential Mortgages & Equity Release

With some recent relaxation in retirement lending rules, some residential mortgage lenders are set to take advantage by introducing retirement mortgage products that can fill the ‘corridor of uncertainty’ between the traditional mortgage market & equity release schemes. This void exists due to the gap in both distribution and the advisory process, but mainly the lack of products that can fill this area.

 

For instance people looking to borrow at age 60 over say a 20 year term looking for a 40% release of equity would struggle currently to raise such an amount. The reason being mortgage lenders are frowning upon lending beyond 70-75 and equity release providers have loan-to-value ratios at 60 that are insufficient to release this amount. So where can these people go?

 

Their prospects are currently limited to several companies, one of which is only accessible via advisers with lifetime mortgage permissions. This is the creditable Hodge Retirement Mortgage. Several smaller, local building societies will lend on an individually underwritten basis, but are obscure in research and not looking for large mortgage books for this kind of product. We saw this effect when the Halifax Retirement Home Plan eventually had to be withdrawn due to demand in July 2011.

 

The future of the equity release market lies in the hands of the lenders who define the products on offer to the over 55 lifetime mortgage brigade. 2015 for me is the landmark year that could evidence how these products are to be aligned in the years to come. With the upheaval to annuity sales and the new pension freedoms in place, equity release has remained too rigid in concept, yet has seen buoyancy, despite its many detractors in the press. Yes this is positive news, yet does not address the underlying issues within the equity release industry.

 

How Non-Traditional Equity Release Companies Can offer Equity Release

Recent news & industry talk is that smaller traditional building society’s are set to move in to the retirement lending space, which effectively could throw a spanner in the works of some equity release lenders and advisory firms who do not embrace these products. The term ‘equity release’ is generic, yet advisers & product providers alike, associate this term with either a lifetime mortgage or home reversion scheme.

Wrong! Equity release simply attributes itself to any form of mortgage vehicle then enables the release of equity from a homeowner’s property. The industry needs to move away from the stigma of historic equity release terminology & move into a new era of flexibility, innovation & a market not defined by just 9 lenders offering copycat products. If these lenders do not embrace the changes needed, other traditional lenders could spot their opportunity & move in.

 

This has started already. With news of two new bold retirement mortgages from what would be classed as two of the somewhat ‘smaller’ building societies. The first to launch was the Vernon Building Society’s Interest Only Retirement Mortgage with two rates dependent upon whether a LPA (Lasting Power of Attorney) was in place & registered with the Court of Protection; an unusual move, but clever thinking behind this. The Vernon’s non-LPA rate at 4.45% (4.9% representative APR) is actually higher than the Hodge Retirement Mortgage at 4.39% (4.7% representative APR), so a welcome addition, but not groundbreaking.

 

Why the Marsden Retirement Mortgage is Competitively Advantaged

The launch of the Marsden Retirement Mortgage plan is significantly different to the Hodge Retirement Mortgage. The Marsden has no affiliation with the Equity Release Council and therefore no constraints with regards to no negative equity guarantees and membership. This can provide greater freedom & the passage of savings in interest, clearly evident on this products launch interest rates of either 2.79% or 2.99% discounted rates, dependent on whether the interest only, or capital & interest route is selected.

 

The Marsden Building Society have made this semi exclusive retirement mortgage plan only available only through qualified intermediaries. This is not a direct to consumer product and is a move commensurate with ensuring best advice is given to a potentially vulnerable age group.

 

The Marsden Retirement Mortgage Product in Finer Detail

The minimum age at application for this mortgage in retirement product is age 55, with a maximum term being 30 years, hence this is not a lifetime mortgage. It is available to anyone looking to make a new house purchase, remortgage away from an existing mortgage provider, maybe due to expiry, or even general capital raising purposes where no mortgage exists currently. This could be for home improvements, gifting to children/family or any other lifestyle choices that make an improvement to their standard of living in retirement.

 

This Marsden pensioner mortgage is available on an interest only retirement mortgage basis or even capital & repayment. The option selected will be reflected in the interest rate which at launch in September 2015 are discounted until 31.01.18 at which point it will revert to the Marsden standard variable rate currently 5.95%. At this point no early repayment charges will exist.

 

The minimum release of equity is £50,000 and the maximum loan that would be considered is £500,000. Properties are accepted in England & Wales only & must be valued at least £200,000.

 

Set up costs are competitive priced compared to equity release schemes. There is a free valuation on properties upto £500,000 and booking fee & arrangement fees of £299 each. For remortgages a fee assisted package is available where standard legals fees are covered along with free valuation fee as previously mentioned.

 

Other essential features of this retirement mortgage are as follows: –

 

  • Income multiples are 4.5x single & joint incomes, subject to affordability checks
  • Minimum income levels are £20,000pa, either single or joint.
  • Only pension income can be accepted, but rental & investment income can be considered
  • Maximum loan-to-values are 40% for interest-only & 60% for repayment mortgages
  • For interest only a sensible repayment method must be in place at the end of the term

 

Summary

The way forward for the post retirement lending arena is a swathe of flexible, transparent mortgage plans that meet the varied need of retirees. Whether this be a lifetime mortgage, retirement mortgage or interest only lifetime mortgage the key word is CHOICE. The Marsden Retirement Mortgage is just the start of new lenders filling the void between equity release plans & standard residential mortgages.

 

For more information & advice on which form of equity release is best for you, or to request a Marsden Retirement Mortgage quote, please contact Mark Gregory on 07966 889597 or email mark@equityreleasesupermarket.co.uk

Stonehaven Equity Release Rebrand to ‘Retirement Advantage’

Friday, May 29th, 2015

Stonehaven + MGM Advantage rebrand as Retirement Advantage
Further evidence of the progress & changes within the equity release industry has been witnessed this week after Stonehaven rebranded its name to ‘Retirement Advantage’. With effect from 26th May 2015, all Stonehaven’s equity release plans will come under the umbrella of Retirement Advantage.

 

 

Who are Stonehaven?

Stonehaven equity release was formed in 2006 as a provider of not just traditional lump sum lifetime mortgages, but innovative interest only lifetime mortgages with a difference. Their concept of being able to service the interest, thus rendering a level lifetime mortgage balance outlived the more conventional mortgage products such as the Halifax Retirement Home Plan which was withdrawn in August 2011.

 

Stonehaven = Innovation

To date, the Stonehaven range of interest only lifetime mortgages have stood the test of time. It is only recently that new hybrid versions of the Stonehaven Interest Select plans have been developed & now introduced. These voluntary repayment plans from the likes of Hodge Lifetime, Aviva, Newlife & now following suit – Stonehaven, have revolutionised the way equity release is perceived. It is now just the general public & journalists who need to take note of the new wave of flexible lifetime mortgages that can be tailored to any client’s requirements.

 

Stonehaven’s Recent history

Stonehaven’s success resulted in the company being taken over by MGM in 2014 and slowly their products have been redesigned & renamed accordingly, with a simplification of their offering – Interest Select, Lump Sum & Voluntary Select. Each product now has two further options depending on the level of borrowing required (loan-to-value) & ultimately also affects the interest rate applied. Board level changes have since occurred and the people who were at the core of their initial operation and built their model around the wider distribution model of using mortgage intermediaries as a source of referral business, have since departed.

 

The New Retirement Arena

We now have a new era in retirement planning & finances. With the demographics of the UK changing, longevity & health factors all combining to make insurers change the way the retirement landscape is evolving. The recent annuity changes have impacted severely on annuity providers of which MGM Advantage has been a major player in this market. These annuity & life insurance companies have had to rethink how retirees will need to manage their finances and stretch them further into retirement. This is probably only the start of what is to come for the over 55’s in the new retirement arena as new products are developed to cater for their needs.

 

MGM and Stonehaven Together = Retirement Advantage

Bringing together two successful retirement companies should lead to a complement of retirement products that can provide retirement solutions. Both MGM Advantage’s annuity and Stonehaven’s lifetime mortgage products are therefore suited to this retirement solution goal. The new retirement brand of Retirement Advantage will further strengthen their retirement proposition with a new retirement account launching soon.

 

Retirement Advantage is therefore one of the first significant mergers we may see in the retirement arena as equity lenders & insurers vie for the ever more lucrative retirement space. Equity release and annuities are changing for the better, hopefully the sign of more innovative thinking ahead.

 

For details on Retirement Advantage product range visit our website here where all their lifetime mortgage deals are listed along with a quote request facility.

Alternatively, please call Mark Gregory on 07966 889597 or email mark@equityreleasesupermarket.co.uk to discuss this further.

Hodge Lifetime Launch New Innovative Retirement Mortgage Plan

Wednesday, July 31st, 2013

Equity Release Supermarket can today announce the launch of  the new Hodge Lifetime Retirement Mortgage Plan.

 

Only available through a selected number of intermediaries, the plan aims to provide a solution to the crisis surrounding the repayment of interest only mortgages.

 

Many articles have been written highlighting the plight of 2.6 million interest only mortgage holders who have no repayment strategy in place at the end of their mortgage term. Today marks the equity release industries response to this crisis.

 

On 1st August 2013, Hodge is launching its alternative interest only lifetime mortgage solution called the Hodge Lifetime Retirement Mortgage Plan.

 

Reasons for the Hodge’s launch

Hodge Lifetime has identified the growing crisis in people approaching retirement with interest only mortgages and no exit strategy. There have been many reasons for this situation such as poorly performing endowments, pension plans, ISA’s or simply that no repayment plan was ever in force.

 

The question for interest only mortgagors is how are they ever going to repay the mortgage balance?

 

Equity Release Supermarket is experiencing an increasing number of enquiries by people looking for an emergency repayment route from their existing mortgage provider. Where once lenders were willing to extend the mortgage term, under new FCA guidelines there is now a reluctance to extend the mortgage term, leaving repayment as the only option.

 

The options available to repay this debt include downsizing property, remortgage to an equity release scheme, transfer to another interest only mortgage, or cash in any available investments. Each of these can present their own set of problems.

 

For those looking to downsize is the ability to sell the property within the timescales provided by the mortgage lender. Equity release schemes may present limitations as to how much they can lend as they are based on a loan-to-value ratio. Depending on age, a conventional mortgage may not be available as they will not usually lend beyond age 75. Investments may not be available if used for income, or even present at all.

 

How The Hodge Retirement Mortgage Plan Can Help

Hodge Lifetime is launching a mortgage product to compare to the Halifax Retirement Home Plan which proved immensely popular until its withdrawal in August 2011.

 

Similar in concept, it enables people between the ages of 55-70 to remortgage their properties for any purpose. The amount borrowed is based on income multiples rather than a loan-to value ratio, as with equity release schemes.

 

Monthly payments of interest are then made to the lender until age 80, effectively maintaining a level mortgage balance. At that point a decision can be made as to whether you wish to continue with the payments for life, or cease & allow the interest to roll-up thereafter. The latter option would result in the mortgage balance thereafter increasing for the duration of the term.

 

The Hodge Lifetime Retirement Mortgage is eventually repaid upon death, or sale of the property.

 

By using affordability as the basis for lending criteria means people on good retirement incomes can borrow upto 50% of the property value with Hodge, subject to income. Compare this to the current interest only lifetime mortgage lender – Stonehaven, who would only lend a maximum of 19% at age 55.

 

Therefore, on a property valuation of £250,000 the difference between the two schemes is a significant £77,500.

 

Features of the Hodge Lifetime Plan

  • Flexible Repayment – Hodge will allow 10% capital repayment each year upto year 6 with no penalty
  • Fixed Early Repayment Charge (ERC) – over the first 5 years the penalty decreases from 5% down to 1% of the capital repaid. No ERC exists after year 6.
  • Fixed Interest Rate – 4.75% for 5 years, renewable thereafter (5.1% APR)
  • Minimum Loan – £20,000; Maximum Loan – £500,000
  • Eligible Income – basic state pension, pension schemes, annuity payments, SERPS or S2P
  • No Negative equity Guarantee – ensures the loan can never be greater than the property value
  • Location – available in England, Wales & mainland Scotland

 

This a lifetime mortgage. To understand the features & risks please ask for a personalised illustration.

Your home maybe repossessed if you do not maintain repayments on a mortgage secured on your home.

 

For further details, or to request a quote on the Hodge Lifetime Retirement Mortgage Plan please call the equity release team on freephone 0800 678 5469 or email mark@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

 

How Does Equity Release Work?

Wednesday, March 27th, 2013

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

 

Equity release workings

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

 

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

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

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

 

Popular uses for equity release

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

 

Today’s equity release schemes

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

 

Today there are three basic equity release schemes:-

 

1)      Roll up Lifetime Mortgage

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

2)      Interest Only Lifetime Mortgage Plans

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

 

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

 

3)      The Home Reversion Plan

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

 

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

 

About the author

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

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

 

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

Will Equity Release Providers Accept Repayments of Interest and/or Capital?

Sunday, January 13th, 2013

A common question that the over 55’s are asking these days is whether equity release schemes are flexible enough to accept repayments of interest and/or capital. With an increasing financially savvy population, particularly those approaching their retirement, this poses an interesting debate.

 

Typically, equity release plans have been associated with the roll-up lifetime mortgage principle, whereby NO monthly payments are necessary. For many retirees this is a daunting prospect given the fact that with the compounding of interest, the inheritance they would leave behind could be severely reduced, if not eliminated.

 

Equity release innovation needed

Equity release providers have therefore been posed themselves the question about how to develop this sector that has historically been devoured of innovation. This lends us back to the original scenario regarding the switched nature of the over 55’s, and how they are now demanding more equity release plans to meet their changing needs.

The baby boomer age group has historically grown up on a life of credit lines such as their residential mortgage, personal loans, hire purchase and credit/store cards. For them, the continuation of a mortgage in retirement is not a serious concern providing adequate pension income is received to fulfil their monthly commitments.

 

Some of these people will have ended up with a mortgage leading into retirement potentially affected by endowment shortfalls or pension fund under performance. Whichever way they have an outstanding mortgage at retirement, there needs to an option available that can address this common problem.

 

Halifax tried and failed

Certain equity release companies have researched this and taken note, particularly given the popularity that the now defunct Halifax Retirement Home Plan. Until August 2011, this Halifax equity release plan offered the over 60’s a mortgage based interest only scheme that would run for the rest of their lives. The void this product has left since being pulled from the market has been enormous and left an opportunity for another interest only provider to fill.

 

Equity release mortgages have now come into their own. Where once they were categorised as a vehicle to enhance lifestyle, they have now become an instrument of necessity, for many who wish to address their retirement shortcomings. These lifetime mortgages can, with product development, provide the ideal solution to an interest only mortgage situation that will only become an even greater issue in years to come.

 

Changes have started

Today the equity release market has opened up and a variety of new plans are now available. 2012 has seen new products come to market that are pushing the boundaries of how the equity release concept can be expanded and accommodate more people into the fold.

 

Therefore, to answer to the question – ‘Do Equity Release Providers Accept Repayments of Interest and/or Capital, the answer is categorically ‘YES’.

 

The next article – ‘Which Equity Release Companies Accept Payments of Interest &/or Capital will discuss the three current equity release providers that will accept repayment of interest and/or capital. Here we can look in greater depth at them: –

 

Hodge Lifetime – Lump Sum Lifetime Mortgage & the Flexible Lifetime Mortgage

Stonehaven – Interest Select Plans – Including Interest Select Lite, Plus, Select & Max

more2life – Interest Choice Plan

 

To discuss these products further call the team on 0800 678 5159 or click here to read the next article on this subject.

What Are My Options if I Still Have a Mortgage When I Reach Retirement Age?

Monday, November 12th, 2012

Retirement mortgages are becoming a rare breed. Nevertheless, with good research provided by an experienced equity release adviser, there are still such products available for the over 55’s. Products such as the Stonehaven Interest Select Plan are a good alternative to the now withdrawn Halifax Retirement Home Plan mortgage. If you have a pre-existing mortgage when you reach retirement age, there are certainly some options that are still available for you to consider.

 

Firstly, it is important to consider the changes in your income when you reach retirement. If your income during retirement still allows you to sustain the pre existing mortgage then the mortgage can be continued for a period. This will however be determined by the term of your existing mortgage and the attitude of your mortgagee. We have recently seen that since the FSA report into interest only mortgages, that residential mortgage lenders have revised their terms and attitude towards this sector of the mortgage market.

 

The repayment vehicle is where the issue has fallen down. Many people have taken interest only mortgages and for one reason or another never taken out the repayment vehicle that was meant to have provided the funds to repay the mortgage with at the end of the term. This has left a time bomb waiting to go off due to the sheer numbers of people with interest only mortgages now hitting their retirement years.

 

Affordability going into retirement is the one aspect of retirement planning most people do not look ahead for. Their income will fall as full time employment will usually cease and pensions as we all know have not performed as the quotes originally showed when personal pensions were originally take out.

 

Therefore, upon attaining retirement age, if you are unable to afford the mortgage, it is necessary to take the correct steps to remedy the situation. Your existing lender should allow you to switch to another interest only mortgage provider, should one be suitable to meet your requirements. To be able to do this, the loan-to-value ratio will be key as to what options will be available upon remortgaging outstanding. Now that the Halifax Retirement Home Plan mortgage has been taken out of service, what options actually remain to switch to?

 

By considering switching to an interest only lifetime mortgage can allow you to make monthly interest payments; the balance remains the same, which is repaid once the property is sold. The question to ask yourself is whether you require the mortgage to run for the rest of your life or to tie in with future plans, such as downsizing, or you only want the mortgage to run for a fixed number of years. Remember, selling your property and moving to a smaller property and paying off the balance is an option worth considering. The answer to these questions will determine the correct retirement solutions for you.

 

Equity Release Supermarket currently has two interest only lifetime mortgage plans available. Therefore, if your current lender does not provide this option, and you wish to remortgage then find an equity release adviser who can provide details. We can advise on both the Stonehaven range of interest select plans, or the recently launched more2life Interest Choice plan on 1st November 2012.

*UPDATE 1/8/21013 – Equity Release Supermarket has today obtained access to the new innovative Hodge Lifetime Retirement Mortgage Plan – for further details click here

However, always look at the options before pledging your future to an interest only lifetime mortgage product. You could be entitled to retirement benefits that can help you cope with the existing mortgage. For instance you could be entitled to council tax benefit or pension credit which could have an impact on your income & mortgage affordability. Certain organisations such as Shelter can provide mortgage interest advice and support to those who are eligible. It is worth exploring these options that can help with making payments.

 

There may be other residential mortgages that you can consider switching to. However, these companies such as Leeds Building Society may only provide a temporary reprieve due to the limited term permitted. Most lenders will usually want full & final repayment by a maximum age of 70-75.

 

It is therefore important to seek professional advice in order to make a well informed and well researched choice. Switching to an interest only lifetime mortgage such as the Stonehaven Interest Select Lite is one such option, wherein you make monthly interest payments for life and the balance on your mortgage remains the same. With Stonehaven interest rates now only starting from 5.99% monthly and thereafter fixed for the whole duration, for those that qualify this is an excellent & secure option available to people over age 55.

 

If you wish to cease making any payments towards the mortgage, maybe as you have no children or close relatives, then roll-up equity release schemes may also be a good option for you. A roll up equity release is where no monthly payments are required as instead the interest gets added to the balance. The equity release deals from some roll-up companies are excellent at the moment with the incentives to help with set up costs. For instance, the Aviva Flexible lifetime mortgage starts with rates as low as 5.57%, depending on personal requirements and this is coupled with free valuations and three cashback options.

 

However, if the thought of your inheritance disappearing before your eyes when you receive your annual roll-up lifetime mortgage statement arrives then its worth looking at companies like Stonehaven and more2life. You should know that interest rates are currently the lowest ever for Stonehaven in their six year history. From the number of interest only enquiries we now have, many people have also noticed and taken advantage of tying themselves into today’s lowest interest rates and fixing them & their futures up for the rest of their lives.

 

To discuss your equity release options at retirement call the equity Release Supermarket team on 0800 678 5159 today.

New Life Mortgages Buck the Trend & Launch a New 25 Year Interest Only Retirement Mortgage for the over 65’s

Wednesday, October 10th, 2012

The tabloids are currently awash with articles proclaiming the death knell for the interest only mortgage. We only heard a few days ago the Nationwide are just one of the high street mortgage lenders in declaring themselves out of the interest only mortgage market.

 

But are these lenders missing a trick?

 

There is a potentially huge retirement mortgage market out there; a society that has grown up on a life of managing debt. They have paid off their mortgage, loans and credit cards during their lives which has created a culture of good financial management and has enabled them to build a significant volume of equity in their property.

 

Lenders need to understand more about the needs and demands of our retired population: –

  • Pensioners have fixed incomes which will usually be incremented each year
  • Most have a good credit history with track record to prove this
  • The older population tend to manage credit better & have not harnessed the ‘buy now, pay later’ mentality of today’s younger generation
  • They cannot be made redundant, nor lose income due to sickness or injury

 

We know in business, where one dares to tread another will be quick to follow and New Life Mortgages have done just that with their newly launched Over 65’s Retirement Mortgage.

 

Who are New Life Mortgages?

New Life Mortgages have been offering equity release schemes since 2003 and their innovative ideas were behind the first ever buy-to-let equity release plan and 2nd home lifetime mortgage schemes.

 

Having been assessing the market for their latest launch, New Life has evidenced the potential behind the vacuum left by the withdrawal of products such as the Halifax Retirement Home Plan in 2011.

 

The 65+ Retirement Mortgage

The newlife mortgages 65+ mortgage is aimed at homeowners with a minimum age of 65 who are looking to raise a tax free lump sum secured against their property and who wish to remain in situ for the foreseeable future. The important aspect of this plan is the term – there is no upper age limit and the applicants can take it out over a 25 year term, possibly longer with lender approval.

 

Available on an interest only or capital & repayment basis, the 65+ mortgage has an interest rate of 5.74% variable. Therefore, applying for a £50,000 mortgage on interest only basis would cost £239pm.

 

Early repayment charges (ERC’s) are favourable also which isn’t the norm on most equity release or interest only lifetime mortgage schemes. With a penalty of 3% in the first year only and none thereafter, the 65+ mortgage could certainly could suit those who are unable to sell their properties in the short term but still need cash funds.

 

How much will New Life Lend?

Standard mortgage lending criteria applies and affordability needs to be evidenced to determine how much can be borrowed. A common sense approach, and & possibly one that most lenders in the current environment could benefit from.

 

The formula for calculating maximum borrowings  are based on income of 4x the first income plus 2.5x the second, or simply 3.75x joint income, whichever provides the highest release for the client. Even still the loan must prove affordable when viewed in conjunction with other household expenditures. Usual credit checks are made and references requested if necessary.

 

The overall maximum amount that New Life Mortgages will lend is £350,000, although again this can be reviewed subject to individual criteria. One caveat though is that the maximum amount that can be borrowed is 50% of the property value & there must be £150,000 equity remaining after the mortgage is granted. Therefore, the over 65’s mortgage may not fit all criteria; however it is hopefully a move in the right direction for pensioner mortgages.

 

Finally

The 65+ mortgage is available on a purchase or remortgage basis. If remortgaging then New Life Mortgages are currently offering a FREE legal fees package on every application.

 

If you wish to check eligibility or request a quote on the New Life Mortgages 65+ Mortgage please call the Equity Release Supermarket team on 0800 678 5159.

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.

 

EQUITY RELEASE SUPERMARKET RATE ALERT…Stonehaven Reduce Rates

Friday, February 10th, 2012

Just as you thought things couldn’t get much better with equity release interest rates, Stonehaven have joined the latest interest rate war by announcing the lowest annual interest rate yet of just 5.89%.

 

It looks like Aviva & Just Retirement have stirred up a hornets nest within the equity release market.

 

Stonehaven equity release have stated they will be reducing their lifetime mortgage interest rates across their whole product range with effect from Monday 13th February 2012. With their benchmark gilt rate now falling to just over 2% they have reduced their interest rates accordingly & maybe more reductions to follow?

 

The greatest reduction has been on their interest only lifetime mortgage product – Interest Select Max which offers the highest loan-to-value. This has been reduced from 7.57% down to 7.10% monthly.

 

For comparison purposes, on a £50,000 Stonehaven Interest Select Max mortgage, the monthly payments would have reduced from £315pm down to £296pm. A saving of almost £20pm.

 

However, the greatest reduction is evident the lump sum product range & it seems Stonehaven are now trying to capture more of the lump sum equity release market. Hence their slightly aggressive stance in lowering below Aviva’s 5.92% rate announced only the other day.

 

Their niche interest only lifetime mortgage has played a major role in assisting people who have been left stranded by the recent withdrawal of the Halifax Retirement Home Plan.Without the Stonehaven interest select mortgage, there would be no other interest only lifetime mortgage lender in England & Wales.

This is due to the fact that Stonehaven only lend in England & Wales, which means that people in Scotland & Northern Ireland still need to source alternative lenders should they be looking for interest only mortgages. Equity Release Supermarket can still assist here but please contact us on 0800 678 5159 for details.

 

Details of  Stonehaven’s new interest rates are as follows: –

Lump Sum Lite               5.89% (was 6.13%)

Lump Sum                      5.98%

 

Their range of interest only lifetime mortgage rates are as follows: –

Interest Select Lite         6.08% (was £6.13%)

Interest Select                6.17%

Interest Select Plus        6.46%

Interest Select Max        7.10%

 

If any of these new deals are of interest to you, please contact the Equity Release Supermarket team on 0800 678 5159 where an adviser can provide guidance as to which Stonehaven equity release mortgage would be suitable.

Alternatively, you can email on mark@equityreleasesupermarket.co.uk

 

Further links for Stonehaven are as follows: –

 

Request a Stonehaven Quote | Stonehaven Factsheet | Stonehaven Deals |

Request Stonehaven Advice

 

 
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