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Posts Tagged ‘Northern Rock’

Looking to Switch Lifetime Mortgage Schemes Could Prove Prudential

Sunday, February 10th, 2013

With lifetime mortgage schemes becoming increasingly commonplace and new borrowers on the increase, we look at how existing equity release customers could still benefit by reviewing and possibly remortgaging their existing plans.

 

Today, the equity release market has expanded to include a variety of different products. At the same time, interest rates today also tend to be more favourable to those a few years back. In light of this, those with existing lifetime mortgage schemes need to weigh-up the pros and cons of shopping around and possibly swapping or switching lifetime mortgage schemes.

 

Older lifetime mortgage schemes from the likes of Norwich Union, Northern Rock, Mortgage Express and Portman Building Society could have equity release interest rates of 8% and upwards if taken out in the halcyon days. However, times and products have all changed, and for those who thought their equity release was a ‘one-off’ event, could never have been more mistaken.

 

Like any conventional mortgage, equity release plans can also be moved to a new provider should the terms be more favourable. There could be a number of reasons to remortgage an older equity release scheme: –

  1. Lower interest rate
  2. Further borrowings
  3. Swap to a more flexible plan

 

Looking at these individually, we can explain the circumstances why many more people are now remortgaging their old lifetime mortgage plans.

 

Lower Interest Rate

The major factor to the expense of lifetime mortgages is the interest rate. Due to the annual compounding effect of the interest, then by cropping 1-2% off the current interest rate can literally save £1000’s over the remainder of the planholders life. This would be most beneficial for the children who will end up with more net equity available upon the death or their parents moving into long term care.

With interest rates from Aviva now as low as 5.57%, by conducting a lifetime remortgage even from an old Aviva capital release plan, would be possible & cost effective. With older lifetime mortgage rates being as high as 8%, the amount that could be saved in interest would be enormous over a long enough period of time.

 

Further Borrowings

It may have been many years since the original tranche of tax free cash was taken and as we know, money these days doesn’t go that far. Therefore, existing lifetime mortgage policyholders may have found this money they took out years ago has dwindled away and are maybe considering their next steps again.

Don’t worry because you have two options – return to your current lender for a lifetime mortgage further advance, or failing that, consider a completely new lifetime mortgage company, if their terms are favourable.

For instance, if your health has taken a turn for the worse then consider an enhanced lifetime mortgage scheme from the likes of Aviva, Partnership or more2life. Having ailments such as high blood pressure, diabetes, heart trouble or even being a smoker can influence a lifetime mortgage terms and conditions. If any of these symptoms exist, then the aforementioned lenders can offer a greater lumps sum than normal; exceptional should you now require maximum fund availability.

 

Swap to a more flexible plan

Lifetime mortgage plans of old were pretty inflexible, being a matter of taking a one-off lump sum and then sitting back thinking ‘job done’. Today’s equity release schemes have been designed with flexibility in mind.

Whereas previously only a single lump was on offer, nowadays with the advent of drawdown lifetime mortgage schemes, you can take a smaller initial amount & leave the surplus in reserve for later. This course of action has its benefits as you will only be charged interest on the capital withdrawn, not on the funds left in the reserve facility. A drawdown lifetime mortgage therefore can provide a cash reserve facility for additional borrowings required in the future. This would prevent you from having the expense of moving schemes again in the future.

A more recent development in the field of lifetime mortgages has been the ability to repay the interest which has not been a function that has previously been available. The interest only lifetime mortgage has seen a boom in sales recently now that retirees can protect their children’s inheritance by making monthly repayments of interest. Therefore, even if you have been on a roll-up scheme, but feel ‘enough is enough’ with the balance reaching its peak to feel comfortable with, you could switch to an interest only lifetime mortgage plan & consolidate the balance.

 

Which lifetime mortgage to swap to

Lifetime mortgage schemes essentially allow you to release some of the equity tied up in your home. The main types of lifetime mortgage schemes are the drawdown lifetime mortgage, roll-up, enhanced and the interest only lifetime mortgage. Lifetime mortgages are loans which need to be repaid once the property is sold.

Clearly, when it comes to equity release schemes, the lower the interest rate on the loan the more you save over the longer term. If you already have an existing equity release loan on your property, switching to a scheme with better interest rates may save you money. However, switching to an equity release scheme with a lower and better interest rate may not necessarily mean that you end up saving money.

 

It is important to find out whether your existing equity release lender has any early repayment charges in place. If you are liable to pay any early repayment penalties, these may cancel out any saving you make by switching. To find out whether switching to a scheme with better interest rates really saves you money, it is important to consider any early repayment charges in your calculations.

Equity release schemes have come a long way since they were first introduced to the market. Today, a much wider variety of products with various bells and whistles can be found. Switching to a more current plan may therefore be beneficial not just from the point of view of interest rates but for flexibility and new features as well.

 

For a free assessment of whether a lifetime remortgage could be beneficial then contact Equity Release Supermarket. With experienced lifetime mortgage advisers attuned to the complexities of swapping plans, they can analyse whether it would be in your best interests, or not to change equity release plans.

 

Call us on freephone 0800 678 5159 today for you free lifetime remortgage assessment or email mark@equityreleasesupermarket.co.uk

 

Equity Release Schemes – Do The Sums Actually Add Up?

Wednesday, February 16th, 2011

The main concern of equity release schemes is the reduced inheritance which is passed down to beneficiaries. Here we discuss the pro’s & con’s of roll-up equity release plans.

 

First, let’s look at the effect on the beneficiaries & the source of the causes for concern. This then leads us to the equity release calculator with facts & figures showing how these schemes fair for the beneficiaries on final redemption of the plan.

 

Ok, we’ve have all heard the saying; bad news travels faster than good news & this is synonymous with terminology ‘equity release’.

Although equity release plans were initiated in 1965, the news damaging these schemes generally dates back to the late 1980’s when the first home income plans were launched.

Linked to an annuities or regular income investment bonds & an interest only mortgage, plans such as these were destined to fail, relying heavily on investment performance in a period of falling property values & rapidly rising interest rates.

 

The mid 90’s then introduced the much derided & chastened Shared Appreciation Mortgages (SAM’s), the focus of most causes for campaigns against equity release including Trevor MacDonald’s Tonight TV programme.

Therefore, its no wonder the industries reputation was soured.

 

So what has the equity release industry done about repairing this negative sentiment?

At the time of the SAM’s debacle, SHIP (Safe Home Income Plans) was launched. Formed from its originators – Ecclesiastical Life, Hodge Equity Release, Home & Capital Trust & GE Life all members agreed to abide by a strict code of conduct, which still exists today.

Soon new lenders entered the equity release market, with household names such as Norwich Union & Northern Rock with their newly developed roll-up equity release schemes bringing a significant boost & trust to the industry.

Although equity release schemes began to blossom around 2003 with approximately 25,000 equity release loans completed, a lack of regulation still overshadowed the equity release sector. The market was still somewhat bighted by the previous misdemeanours.

 

Thankfully, partial regulation was soon imposed on the equity release industry with lifetime mortgages coming under the auspices of the Financial Services Authority on 31st October 2004. Home reversions soon joined lifetime mortgage schemes & by 2007 full regulation & confidence was brought back to the equity release marketplace.

Therefore, the market has evolved & strived to restore pride; a far cry from the negative perceptions of decades ago.

 

So what does this all mean for today’s beneficiaries?

The main ‘clean up act’ came with the introduction of SHIP & its rules imposed on the members. The ‘no negative equity guarantee’ affords the greatest level of protection the industry has to offer.

Safe in the knowledge that any amount borrowed by their parents can never escalate to more than the eventual sale price of the property, they are at least guaranteed no debt can be passed onto themselves.

A crumb of comfort maybe, but certainly peace of mind for parents.

 

As an equity release adviser, encouragement must always be shown to involve the heirs to the estate. With their input & assurance, feelings can then be vented either for or against equity release being taken as for many this is a major financial proposition.

Again qualified advisers should play an important role in explaining the pro’s & con’s of equity release mortgages & convey these issues to all parties concerned.

 

What else does the equity release sector afford by way of protection?

Interest rates for home equity release schemes, albeit not the lowest ever, are still historically low. One positive feature of these schemes is the lifetime fixed rate on all equity release loans now.

 

So what is the benefit of this?

If you borrowed an amount of capital, with a fixed interest rate for life it enables you to calculate the exact future balance.

This is building further reassurance for potential equity release applicants.

We know the equity release balance escalates over the lifetime of the scheme; this is the nature of plans & should never be entered into unless this has been clearly explained. The effect of the interest compounding annually, approximately doubles the balance every 10-11 years, depending on interest rate charged by the equity release companies.

 

Sounds daunting? Well, let’s now look at the sums as promised earlier:

One of the lowest interest rates around at present would be the Aviva Lifetime Lump Sum scheme, which  currently has a fixed interest rate of 6.65% (6.9% APR) annual.

 

A male, aged 65 borrowing a lump sum of £25,000 on the 6.65% Aviva Lifestyle lump sum would know exactly what the future balance will be, even before taking out the equity release scheme. The Key Facts Illustration provided by the equity release adviser will confirm these figures & also the costs & additional features involved.

For instance, based on a release of £25,000 in this scenario would lead to a balance in 10 years of £47,594 & after 20 years would be £90,606.

This may seem expensive given only £25,000 was borrowed initially; however there are two factors that could still rule in the equity releases favour.
One common issue overlooked is the potential for property prices to increase. If so, & with 100% ownership of the house still retained the homeowner will fully benefit from any future escalation in the house price. This will then offset some of the compounding effect of the interest & mitigate its effect on the overall estate. Again, we are looking longer term & no guarantee can be given prices will go up; nevertheless historical data confirms they still have.

As a consequence, a rule of thumb is never to borrow anymore than required beyond the initial 12 months. Plans are now flexible enough with drawdown schemes being available that funds can even be drip fed over time as & when required.

Hence, by taking a lower initial amount would result in less interest being charged, meaning more inheritance passed to the beneficiaries.

 

 

The second factor affecting the balance accruing & is the main cause of equity release roll-up is purely down the fact that NO monthly payments are required. This helps retirees to have access to the equity tied up in their property & at the same time leave their budget unaffected.

Nevertheless, equity release schemes do have an increasing role in retirement planning for the over 55’s. Care must always be taken & never rushed into without discussion & involvement of third parties.

Advice should always be provided by an industry qualified equity release consultant. If so, & in the right circumstances equity release can provide a comfortable & enjoyable retirement.

 

Finally, hopefully lessons have been learned from the past & the industry can move forward, innovate & develop further over time.

 

To discuss any of these issues & with no obligation whatsoever, please contact the Equity Release Supermarket team on 0800 678 5159 or email mark@equityrelease supermarket.co.uk

 

Prudential Set To Withdraw From Selling Equity Release

Tuesday, November 24th, 2009

Prudential has announced to the industry that it will withdraw from writing new equity release business in the New Year. The insurer will however continue to maintain the current service standards to its existing 14,000 customers.

 

As reported in earlier newsletters on this site, this follows a trent set in 2009 of other equity release providers pulling its equity release schemes – notably Coventry Building Society (Godiva), Saffron Building Society, Retirement Plus & Northern Rock.

 

However, the Prudential’s announcement is the first major casualty in the specialist equity release market  & may come as a concern. Launched in 2004, Prudential  had innovative products & backed by its strong household brand name. Their market share had been 23% in 2008 & 12% of the equity release market in 2009, with total lending amounting to around £1bn.

 

They have stated that the mortgage book always was planned to be securitised, however with current market conditions this course of action was stemmed. Barry O’Dwyer who is Managing director of retail life and pensions stated that he does not feel this securitisation market to return potentially for another five years.

 

Other factors Prudential have sited are the up-front costs of equity release provision being too high against the payback period for the capital. Prudential now feel this cash is better deployed to other product areas of the business.

 

Remaining companies in the market will surely address their positions in light of this. The major providers now left being Aviva , Just Retirement , LV= , Hodge Lifetime , Stonehaven  & the home reversion companies of Bridgewater  & Home & Capital .

Therefore, anyone considering the Prudential equity release plan must act soon! For a summary of their products and rates please click on the following link…Prudential Equity Release Plans.

 

Equity Release Supermarket still have a special offer with the Prudential which includes a free valuation & £300 cashback on completion.

 

If you have any queries or an existing customer please contact Mark Gregory on 0800 678 5159 or email mark@equityreleasesupermarket.co.uk

 

 
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