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Posts Tagged ‘Interest Only Mortgage’

Why London Housing Statistics show Equity Release on the Agenda

Tuesday, May 20th, 2014

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

 

Equity Release Defined

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

 

The London Housing Market

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

 

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

 

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

 

Agenda – Lifetime Mortgage

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Inheritance Factors are Imperative

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

 

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

 

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

Can Equity Release Schemes Prevent you Becoming an ‘Interest Only Mortgage Prisoner’?

Sunday, December 22nd, 2013

Can equity release schemes help unlock interest only mortgage prisoners?It seemed such a sensible thing to do at the time. Perhaps you were just starting out on the property ladder or you wanted to move up market to afford that dream home and as a result your income was stretched?

 

Back then an interest only mortgage was a perfectly reasonable option for a few years until your earnings increased and then you could switch to a full repayment mortgage. Or perhaps, very sensibly, you set up a repayment vehicle such as an endowment plan or you relied on the anticipated growth of your pension fund to take care of the mortgage in the dim and distant future?

 

Reaching retirement with an interest only mortgage

Life never quite works out as expected and here you are, approaching or beyond retirement, with a mortgage still outstanding and with a mortgage lender demanding to know how you intend to repay. Either you never got around to switching to a repayment mortgage or, by reason of poor investment performance or poor advice, your repayment fund has fallen woefully short of target.

 

You are not alone! Earlier this year the Financial Conduct Authority report that that almost half of those borrowers with interest only mortgages, approximately 1.3 million people, may not be able to repay their mortgage. And the average shortfall is estimated to be £71,000.

 

Can the high street lenders help?

So how have high street mortgage lenders responded? Mainly by applying higher interest rates to existing interest only mortgages or by forcing borrowers into repayment plans, usually very short term for borrowers over 60, with little regard to affordability or even existing and adequate savings plans.

 

So how do you break free from this “mortgage prison”?

Firstly, you must consider your options for the future;-

  • If you have savings, do you want to use them to reduce the outstanding mortgage, bearing in mind that the cost of the mortgage will certainly outweigh any return you are making on your savings?
  • How much of your savings do you want to retain as a cash emergency fund?
  • Do you intend to move now or within the next few years and, if so, will this allow you to repay the mortgage, cover all the moving costs and leave sufficient finds to re-house yourselves?

 

Secondly, if these options are not available to you and you want to remain in the family home, then you could consider an equity release mortgage, preferably after eliminating all other possibilities and following consultation with your family.

 

How can equity release schemes help?

There are two types of equity release plans approved by the Equity Release Council and they come with the following written guarantees:

  • You can stay in your home for life or until you go permanently in to care. In the case of joint applicants, this is until the survivor dies or goes in to care.
  • The plans are portable to other acceptable properties if you want to move.
  • No further monthly interest payments to make, unless you elect to do so.
  • You will never leave a debt to anyone due to the inclusion of a ‘no negative equity guarantee’

 

The two types of equity release mortgages are

  1. Home Reversion Plans – where you sell a percentage share of your home in exchange for a cash lump sum or regular income.
  2. Lifetime Mortgage Schemes – where you release funds secured on your property with the option to either roll-up the interest with no monthly payments, or to pay monthly interest in full or part.

 

Case Study example

A couple aged 66 and 65 living in their home valued at £300,000 and desperately wanting to repay an interest only mortgage of £60,000. The maximum they could raise from a standard lifetime mortgage would be 29% of the property value, i.e. £87,000. They have options and the following are examples of mortgage products currently available:-

 

a)      They can choose to borrow £60,000 (plus more to cover fees) to repay the existing lender and have the interest rolled-up for life with no further monthly payments. The valuation fee could be free with some of the current equity release deals available. The other costs taken by lender, solicitor and adviser could amount to approximately £2,000 which could be deducted from the loan. The interest rate fixed for life on equity release plans such as the Aviva Lifetime Flexi could be as low as 5.62% (5.80% representative APR) and, in addition, they could have ready access to a cash reserve if they wanted to borrow more in the future.

 

b)      They can choose to borrow the £60,000 (plus more to cover fees) and pay the monthly interest for life or for a fixed number of years. Dependent upon income, the lifetime fixed rate could be fixed as low as 4.75% (5.10% representative APR) resulting in a maximum monthly interest payment of £238pm. However, if this is too much for their budget they could elect for alternative plans such as Stonehaven’s Interest Select range & opt to pay a lesser sum each month (minimum of £25). The remaining unpaid monthly interest would be rolled up and repaid at the end. The fees are approximately the same, but a valuation fee of £252 would be payable with the Stonehaven application form. Hence, we have interest only lifetime mortgage options to suit.

 

A new breed of lifetime mortgages

Recently, a new form of lifetime mortgage has been developed to help those looking for the maximum possible release. The enhanced lifetime mortgage, or ‘ill-health equity release plan’ has been developed with the maximum release in mind.

 

Although the maximum equity release isn’t suitable for everyone, it has its place for those who desperately want as much as they can release for either health reasons or a ‘needs must’ basis.

 

They differentiate from standard lifetime mortgage schemes by assessing someone’s medical history. Essentially, the worse one’s health has been, the greater the potential release. These plans are underwritten & are offered by actuarially based companies with experience in the field of pension annuities where similar principles are employed.

 

Therefore, an enhancement can make the difference between be able to repay that interest only mortgage, or not, so enhanced lifetime mortgages should always be considered with your adviser.

 

Summary

Equity release is a sensible option to escape becoming a “mortgage prisoner” but expert advice from a qualified equity release adviser is always essential. Explore the alternatives first and discuss matters with your family to obtain a second opinion.

 

If you would like a free initial consultation to assess your interest only mortgage options, please contact Mike Vicary of Equity Release Supermarket, on 07795 195302.

 

Mike has successfully helped people make the interest only remortgage transition, thus enabling retirees to remain in their home & avoid becoming an ‘interest only mortgage prisoner’.

 

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

 

How the FCA Interest Only Mortgage Review May Impact Sales of Interest Only Lifetime Mortgages

Sunday, May 5th, 2013

May 2013 will be remembered as the wake-up call for customers with interest only mortgages. After all the talk about time bombs ticking down to zero, the FCA (Financial Conduct Authority) has now issued a regulatory warning, advising that action should be taken, and also how.

 

The interest only mortgage has been sold in bucket-loads for reasons a plenty. Ideally, an interest only mortgage should always have some form of repayment vehicle which is confirmed to the mortgage lender at inception.  This could be in the form of a low cost endowment, personal pension plan, regular savings ISA, stock and shares, investment bonds or even sale of 2nd home such as buy-to-let or holiday home. The only way of guaranteeing repayment of a mortgage is by choosing the capital & interest repayment mortgage route.

 

However, the relaxation of lending rules during the pre-credit crunch era meant that these mortgages where only interest is repaid were all too often taken due to being the cheaper option. It soon became apparent that these mortgages were not necessarily taken for the right reasons.  Not only that, where repayment vehicles were set up using pre-determined growth rates, these have fallen way short of their target growth rate.

 

These statistics have been confirmed by the FCA, who stated that almost half of the 2.6 million customers with a UK interest only mortgage won’t be able to clear their mortgage by the end of its term. In fact the average only interest mortgage balance will be approximately £72,000 by its eventual settlement date. These interest only mortgagors will somehow need to find this repayment amount, or end up having to sell their home and downsizing.

 

How Can Interest Only Lifetime Mortgages help?

This will depend upon at what stage of the mortgage term any retrospective action is to be taken. The best situation would be if remedial action could be effected during the interest only mortgage term itself. This would mean assessing the amount to be repaid & the time remaining for repayment of the original capital amount. Using a suitable interest only mortgage calculator, you can check to see how much you should be repaying in order to meet the mortgage outstanding. This will illustrate the size of the problem and what strategy is vital moving forward.

 

However, this is all & well if the situation can be nipped in the bud with many years remaining. Unfortunately, there are many mortgagors where the FCA interest only mortgage review has come too late. These are the people who have now reached retirement and realisation has sunk in that they still have no means to repay their mortgage. Mortgage lenders are reigning in these mortgages, many with no remorse.

 

Nevertheless, there is a small crumb of comfort for some as the FCA statistics do show that 85% of interest only mortgage cases maturing up to 2016 will have a 39% loan-to-value, or less. We also know from their data that over 48% people are over age 55 at this point. Fortunately for them there is a mortgage solution in the form of another type of interest only mortgage. Here is where the equity release industry can come to their aid.

 

Interest Only Solutions

An interest only lifetime mortgage works on the same principle as the interest only mortgage. The difference comes in the term, as the interest only lifetime mortgage will never need repaying until the last person has died or moved into long term care. Therefore, if affordability into retirement is not an issue, then committing to a life of interest only payments could prove a solution. Given the size of the interest only epidemic due to inflict itself upon the UK mortgage population this form of lifetime interest only mortgage could prove salvation for many who wish to keep their home.

 

The enormity of the situation could therefore be of benefit to the interest only lifetime mortgage providers such as Stonehaven, more2life and Hodge Lifetime. Where the applicants are aged over 55 and the loan-to-value criteria fits, then one of these equity release providers may be able to assist. With interest rates now closer to conventional mortgage rates than ever before, the differential in pricing is not that far apart.

 

In particular, where the discipline of monthly repayments are required, then the Stonehaven Interest Select Lite provides a solution whose interest rate begins at 5.99% (6.40% APR). The Stonehaven range of plans eventually rise upto 6.81% (7.3% APR) with the Interest Select Max, but offer a higher maximum lump sum.

 

As an alternative, if a more flexible repayment approach is preferred and the youngest applicant is 60 or over, then the Hodge Lifetime Plans may suit. The Hodge Lifetime flexible repayment option allows upto 10% of the original capital borrowed. Repayments can only start after 12 months have elapsed and a maximum of two payments are allowed each year thereafter. This effectively could provide an even better solution to interest only short fallers, as should the full 10%pa be repaid off the mortgage balance, then this would prove to be a new type of equity release scheme – a capital & repayment lifetime mortgage!

 

If you are one of the thousands of interest only mortgage customers with your mortgage company demanding repayment, then contact the Equity Release Supermarket team on 0800 678 5159 today or complete our contact request form.

Are Self Cert Mortgages Available in Retirement?

Tuesday, April 23rd, 2013

Self-certification mortgages are mortgages that are available without a formal income check. Self cert mortgages can be a good option for self-employed or independent professionals who would otherwise have a hard time finding a mortgage lender. Self-certification mortgages are also now available within the retirement sector, in conjunction with the right equity release advice.

 

In fact, lifetime mortgages and pensioner mortgages where the repayment vehicle is the sale of the property are all essentially self-certification mortgages as they do not depend on the income of the applicant. The lending criteria for these pensioner mortgages are mainly the age of the applicant and the property valuation.

 

For instance, Stonehaven’s Interest Select Plan is an interest only lifetime mortgage. Clients can borrow a tax free lump sum against the value of their property. Interest can be repaid in full every month, and the principle amount of the loan is repaid when the property is sold. In fact, Stonehaven equity release will allow you to set up a partial repayment facility, if the full amount of interest is out of your budget range. Therefore, rather than all the interest being repaid, a contribution towards this amount is paid.

 

Therefore, rather than the balance remaining level for the duration of the lifetime interest only mortgage, there will be an element of roll-up interest, albeit significantly lower than if no repayments were made at all. This scenario is ideal for candidates who are risk averse and wish to control the future balance of these pensioner mortgages for their children’s inheritance.

 

Being a lifetime mortgage, there is no fixed term and the loan will continue indefinitely, which will be until sale of the property, which is usually on death or moving into long term care.

 

Self Cert 2013 Lending Criteria

The lending criteria for this loan are based on the age of the youngest applicant and the value of the property. Plans start at age 55 with a minimum property valuation to qualify of £70,000. The property can now be situated in England, Wales & mainland Scotland.

 

As long as applicants can make the minimum monthly repayment of £25, there is no question of requesting income. Stonehaven’s Interest Select plan can therefore be safely categorised as a self cert mortgage. Once the mortgage is set up however, the premiums cannot be amended, other than to stop interest payments completely and convert to a roll-up lifetime mortgage plan. This feature can be used as a safety net in case the mortgage becomes unaffordable in the future & effectively prevents a situation whereby normally repossession would ensue. Repossession for none payment of premiums cannot therefore occur with the Stonehaven Interest Select Plan.

 

Another feature that appeals in today’s economic climate is that of adverse credit or poor credit rating. These lifetime interest only mortgages have leniency towards this. They will permit arrears and defaults. Additionally, they will accept CCJ’s (County Court Judgements) upto a certain level as long as they are repaid from the proceeds and were for understandable reasons.

 

Like most equity release schemes, Stonehaven base the lending on a loan-to-value principle. Stonehaven have four tiers of loan-to-values and each comes with its own interest rate. In essence the more you borrow against the value of your house the higher the interest rate becomes. Conversely, the older you are the greater the amount that can be borrowed, hence it is important you receive independent equity release advice to assess which tiered rate of interest applies and is best for you.

 

For instance a male aged 65 with a property value of £250,000 could release the following with Stonehaven: –

 

 Product Name

Maximum Borrowing

Interest Rate

Loan-to-Value

 Interest Select Lite

£52,500

5.99%

21%

 Interest Select

£60,000

6.08%

24%

 Interest Select Plus

£67,500

6.17%

27%

 Interest Select Max

£72,500

6.81%

29%

 

Who else provides self cert lifetime mortgages on an interest only basis?

Other pensioner mortgages are becoming increasingly available such as the more2Life Interest Choice Plan. This is another self-certification mortgages whereby no income checks are made by the lender. The mortgage is only repaid once the property is sold, which is when the client dies or moves into permanent care, or decides to make an early sale for any other reason.

 

Self-certification mortgages are not very common in the regular residential mortgage sector as lenders are reluctant and wary of lending without formal income checks under FCA (Financial Conduct Authority) regulations. Interest rates are often higher and the loan to value ratio may be lower than traditional mortgages. However, they have been designed with security in mind, something which interest only mortgages of the past haven’t been.

 

Many pensioner mortgages which rely on the property sale for repayment are essentially self-certification mortgages as they don’t carry out income checks for approval. For these mortgages the main relevant criteria are the age of the applicant which helps determine the expected term of the loan and the property valuation which helps determine the loan to value ratio.

 

For a full assessment of eligibility criteria with the range of interest only lifetime mortgages that Equity Release Supermarket have available, please call Freephone 0800 678 5159 or email mark@equityreleasesupermarket.co.uk.

 

Further information on the range of self cert interest only lifetime mortgages can be found on our Compare Equity Release Deals page.

Equity Release Schemes Available In Scotland

Thursday, March 28th, 2013

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Latest equity release schemes

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Scottish interest only mortgage enquiries

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

Monday, January 14th, 2013

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

 

Hodge Lifetime

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

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

 

Hodge Lifetime Allow 10% Overpayments

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

 

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

 

The effect of making these 10% overpayments

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

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

 

Hodge also have NO early repayment charges…

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

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

 

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

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

 

Stonehaven

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

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

 

Stonehaven help protect your inheritance

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

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

 

You can select your monthly payment

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

 

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

 

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

 

Protection against repossession

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

 

What are the Stonehaven Interest Rates?

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

 

Interest Select Lite – 5.99%

Interest Select – 6.08%

Interest Select Plus – 6.17%

Interest Select Max – 6.81%

 

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

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

 

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

 

more2life

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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.

When Equity Release is NOT Right For You!

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.

 

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.

 
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