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Posts Tagged ‘Lifetime Mortgages’

Legal & General Equity Release – Visionary Views & Sea Change Needed

Wednesday, October 14th, 2015

Legal and General Equity releaseThe equity release marketplace in 2015 has been undergoing a period of growth and innovation which has been long overdue. There are major factors influencing this potential golden generation of competitive equity release plans. Helping matters has been a new big brand household name – Legal & General who are aiming to take a large share of equity release business, but not necessarily in the conventional manner.

 

Realising the lifetime mortgage market needs a sea change in order to reach the heady predictions made, Legal & General are almost starting with a blank canvas & fresh approach to how equity release UK plans are marketed & advised. These ideas I’m sure will soon be rolled-out to the equity release broker community, who need to awaken to the concept of change, not much of which has really been seen over the past few years.

 

Personally, equity release brokers & lenders need a complete overhaul of its thinking & messages it needs to portray to the consumer to build confidence. Conventionality needs to be erased & brought into the 21st century using the latest of technology & wider distribution. This shouldn’t be just by one or two brokers strangling the marketplace, effectively restricting the entry of new lenders/funders, but an across the board approach by everyone (brokers & providers) working together.

 

Furthermore, for growth, new advisers are needed to be brought in from outside the industry & trained to meet the rigorous measures imposed by the Equity Release Council to ensure safe route to market for the consumer. There is a shortage of quality equity release advisers which needs immediately addressing, otherwise how can the market grow?

 

Legal and General Home Finance ‘Sea Change’

Let’s analyse what Legal and General Home Finance have achieved since entering the equity release arena by acquiring NewLife Mortgages in early 2015. They have provided a series of plans which have effectively matched the best crop of products in the market at entry point. Features such as the 10% voluntary repayment option, lowest interest rate, high loan-to-value products & inheritance protection facility have competed significantly well against its peers, such as Aviva Equity Release.

 

Understandably Legal and General had to start somewhere & their efforts so far are commendable. With product research underway & their own analysis of how the market should look moving forward, we welcome a fresh voice & innovative product development. With electronic applications & valuation instructions to commence in the New Year, these are exciting times for the industry, but not before time. Branding themselves as Legal & General Home Finance indicates their proposition will be more diverse than just traditional equity release plans.

 

Areas where development is needed is greater flexibility for all pre & post retirement homeowners and remedying the issues for the over 55’s sensibly borrowing into retirement which MMR has stunted. We have seen how the Marsden Retirement Mortgage has filled a niche in post lending advice & this gap between equity release schemes & residential mortgages is a void that needs consideration. Equity release plans in their current state, albeit the most flexible ever, will not meet the future needs & demands for all retirees. New ideas and new forms of retirement mortgages are needed, but maybe one’s that somehow interact with lifetime mortgages, switching between as the homeowner’s future circumstances dictate.

 

 

Can Legal & General Exert Influence?

There is a vision for the expected growth in post-retirement lending, which some market analysts have projected could reach £5billion by 2020! This is still a mere drop in the ocean compared to the residential mortgage market of over £200 billion, yet there is still almost £1 trillion in untapped equity remaining in the over 55’s property portfolio’s. Is the figure even realistic? Not in its current format & lenders thought process. This is why Legal & General’s introduction could be what the market needs.

 

We are aware of the history of equity release schemes, resulting in the lack of confidence with many retirees & press alike. However with the efforts from Nigel Waterson from the Equity Release Council & the voice of important members of the equity release sector such as Andrea Rosario, the market is starting to answer back. In essence, the external adverse publicity maybe due to lack of knowledge of equity release and of how the newer breed of lifetime mortgage schemes work in practice & how it’s strictly regulated by the FCA. But this is where the equity release industry has plotted its own downfall. Lenders themselves should stand up more & be accountable, especially when adverse publicity arises, as it tends to be the market correspondents alone who respond.

 

Frustration ensues when column inches and comments about equity release are misconstrued. But that will happen when the market is so inhibited by a few brokers who have their own interests at heart. We already have an ‘equity release club’ in the industry, but designed for brokers for equity release referral purposes. Equity release brokers themselves should form their own ‘club’, thus joining forces and work out they can ALL assist the growth in the equity release sector. A new era of consumer openness and transparency needs to develop so there is a clear voice representing the industry, with a collective approach from ALL, not just the monopoly of a few.

 

A Sea-Change of attitude, products, innovation and lenders is what’s required for equity release & retirement lending as a whole, to progress. At least one of these requirements seems to have been met, with the household name of Legal and General becoming a new lifetime mortgage provider. The next 12 months may define the future of this industry. These could be exciting times for all those involved from brokers through to lenders, but not forgetting the true beneficiaries to all this – homeowners over the age of 55 who genuinely need a mortgage vehicle to enhance their retirement!

 

For further information on the range of Legal & General equity release schemes, please contact Mark Gregory – mark@equityreleasesupermarket.co.uk or call 07966 889597.

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.

Switch Equity Release from Papilio UK – Time is running out

Sunday, May 25th, 2014

Switch equity release from PapilioIn my last article on this subject in February 2013 I drew attention to the ease with which borrowers could escape the higher equity release  interest rates charged by Papilio UK, the successor to Northern Rock. I also reminded Papilio equity release borrowers that the option to take further loans from Papilio UK, an option Northern Rock originally considered, was no longer available.

 

Since my original Papilio article, Equity Release Supermarket have been inundated with enquiries leading to many satisfied clients switching to cheaper lifetime mortgages. And with many lifetime mortgage lenders currently offering free valuations and cashbacks, the costs of such transfers rarely exceed £1,500 – a sum that could soon be recovered through cheaper borrowing or funded by increasing the new mortgage.

 

Indeed, with fixed interest rates as low as 5.63% (5.83% representative APR) we have achieved savings for our clients of over 1.3% on their loans. With such low equity release interest rates, now is an excellent time to consider a remortgage from Papilio UK to a new provider.

 

Reasons to switch equity release plans

This could be for one of two reasons;

  1. To borrow additional funds & consolidate all old & new borrowings under one roof with a much lower interest rate.
  2. To simply swap equity release schemes on a like-for-like basis, but obtaining a much lower interest rate for the long term.

 

As an example in real terms, assuming that you remortgage a lifetime mortgage of £50,000 onto a fixed rate of 5.68% from a Papilio UK equity release mortgages rate of 6.99%, then after just 10 years the saving in interest charges would be in excess of £15,000. This would be not only beneficial for you if you require further borrow in the future, but also your beneficiaries who would now receive a larger inheritance.

 

Obviously, the larger the loan is, the greater the potential savings. This in turn would make large savings for your ultimate beneficiaries. Think of switching equity release schemes like any residential remortgage; you want to obtain the best rate for your outstanding debt, so as not to pay any more interest than necessary to the mortgage lender. The equity release switch principle works in exactly the same way.

 

New equity release schemes have greater benefits

In addition to the cheaper cost of borrowing, many lenders with whom you can swap equity release schemes to have now developed much more flexible lifetime mortgage plans.

 

For example, you could select a new lender with various penalty free options. The most recent innovations in the lifetime mortgage market are:

  1. Lifetime mortgage plans with Hodge Lifetime & Aviva where voluntary repayments of upto 10% per annum can be made each year. These ad-hoc repayments enable you to ‘control’ the future balance of the loan. This could be to maintain a level balance or even use it as a capital & interest mortgage by repaying the whole balance over a set number of years.
  2. Downsizing protection option from Hodge Lifetime which allows full repayment of the plan after 5 years by “trading down” your home. Therefore, if you move house & downsize you have the option to clear the whole mortgage debt & end up equity release ‘free’.
  3. Depending on the value of your property, you could remortgage to a new drawdown lifetime mortgage where a cash reserve facility could be established for ready access to further loans in case of future need ( a great way of protecting a surviving spouse on a reduced income)
  4. The option to protect a percentage of the eventual sale proceeds of your home with a guaranteed inheritance protection option for your children and beneficiaries.

 

So why consider switching from Papilio UK now?

The present economic conditions will not last for ever. Long term interest rates have started to creep up and the recent increase in property values in certain parts of the country might not be sustained. The Governor of the Bank of England warned over the weekend about the danger of the property “bubble” bursting, and this could remove from those with larger loans the opportunity to escape the higher interest rates charged by Papilio.

 

In our opinion, the time to act to escape Papilio UK equity release mortgages is NOW before interest rates increase and property values fall. And if you intend to take action then swapping equity release scheme from Papilio could be your recommended ‘escape route’

 

For further information, or to receive a FREE initial consultation, please contact me, Mike Vicary, on 07795 195302 or if you prefer email mike@equityreleasesupermarket.co.uk where I would be more than happy to discuss your options.

 

The Papilio UK remortgage process

In the meantime it would be advisable to write to Papilio UK to obtain an up to date redemption statement to include all fees and the ongoing daily accrual of interest. Their address is:-

PO Box 1003, Ipswich, Suffolk, IP1 9UZ (Tel: 0844 8464716).

 

Armed with this information, I can then discuss with you your financial position and future plans and make a formal recommendation, if appropriate. You would receive clear details of the benefits to you of the Papilio UK remortgage and a full breakdown of costs.

 

Assuming you accept my recommendations, then we would complete the application paperwork at a mutually convenient home visit (preferably with family members present) or by post.

 

Following that Equity Release Supermarket would then oversee the valuation of your home by the new lender and we would instruct your solicitor on your behalf.

(We would strongly suggest appointing a specialist solicitor from our recommended panel to ensure that the transaction is completed as quickly and efficiently as possible.)

 

Our new business administration department would then manage your equity release application through to a successful completion by liaising with your new provider, solicitors & yourself. Once arranged, the Papilio UK equity release mortgage would have been repaid & the outstanding balance transferred to your new lifetime mortgage company & taking full advantage of the new lower rate &/or additional borrowing.

 

The time to take action is now.

 

Please do contact me for a free consultation on 07795 195302 or email mike@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

 

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.

 

A Whole New Ball Game Begins with Home Equity Release Schemes

Monday, May 21st, 2012

With interest rates being so low, and investments so sluggish, many people who had retired on a nest egg are starting to struggle. The crisis seems far from over so it might be time to consider other options for “topping up” those savings and the income that they create with a home equity release scheme.

 

Most home equity release plans come in many forms but the most common one now is the lifetime mortgage. This style of equity release mortgage is only available to those over the age of 55, as they include special features exclusively designed for elderly and retired people. This more vulnerable age group now has the protection of the FSA (Financial Services Authority) & the trade body currently undergoing reformation which is SHIP (Safe Home Income Plans).

 

Changing attitudes & beliefs

These property equity release plans are designed to be secured on properties which have had most or the entire existing mortgage paid off. Equity release is essentially a re-mortgage, but with special consideration taken into what stage of life the homeowner is in. The statistics show that retirees are now living longer and have a renewed vigour & enthusiasm that has rekindled that sense of adventure from years gone by.

 

Why? The whole idea and acceptance that we are only here once; so ‘let’s make the most of it’ attitude.

 

Home equity release schemes are a great way of topping-up a retirement pension, as they can be arranged to either provide an additional amount of “income”, by slowly releasing the equity from a home in a controlled manner. Otherwise, they can provide a lump sum of cash which can go top-up an emergency fund, or to provide capital that can be used for a lifestyle purposes such as home improvements, a new car or holidays.

 

New lending approach from equity release companies

The benefits of today’s range of home equity release schemes are that they provide excellent value for money, given that equity release interest rates are the most competitive ever. Interest rates are now available from the likes of AVIVA starting from just 5.57% dependent upon age, property value & equity release scheme taken.

 

This new approach to equity release lending takes more account of how potentially profitable a plan is to them. We have already seen this to some degree with LV= who operate a tiered interest rate structure dependent upon age. Basically, the older the youngest applicant is, the higher the interest rate becomes. The principle behind this is, the younger one is, the longer their life expectancy should be. Consequently, the longer the equity release plan runs for the greater the final balance which results in a greater profit margin for the lender.

 

Makes business sense, or does this? Only time will tell, however from the initial feedback and rates being made available from the Aviva trial program indicates that considerable reductions in interest rates can be made, even with the offer of the free valuation and upto £1000 cashback!

 

What effect does this have on the children?

For those looking for the lowest interest rate on a home equity release mortgage a lower interest rate will save £1000’s over the long term. This will reduce the financial burdening of compound interest from day-to-day with the mortgage arranged so that the additional cost of interest charged is taken from the equity in the home. This means that the burden is shifted to the inheritance estate, or to when the home is sold when the policy holders are in care or downgrade their home. In each of these cases, it is likely that the market will be more buoyant and the home will have more value anyway as hopefully property values will have risen over the duration of the home equity loan period.

 

With savings taking such a beating due to low interest rates and pensions being punished so hard by this crisis, many retired people are struggling with their finances. Sometimes products like home equity release schemes can help and provide some extra comfort and peace of mind. They can top-up the incomes provided through annuities or drawdown pensions, and are usually available on terms which are more flexible and costs effective than those taken out in years gone by.

 

Equity release is an important decision. However, with the help & support of specialists in the field of lifetime mortgage and home reversions plans such as Equity Release Supermarket we can find the best equity release deal for you.

 

No matter your location in the UK or Northern Ireland we have equity release schemes covering these locations. So either pick up the phone & call 0800 678 5159 & speak to one of the equity release team or click here to find your local equity release adviser.

 

These are lifetime mortgages and home reversion plans. To understand their features and risks, ask for a personalised illustration.

 
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