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Posts Tagged ‘Pensioner Mortgages’

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

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.

The Stonehaven Interest Select Plan Provides Salvation for Those Looking for an Interest Only Lifetime Mortgage

Friday, January 6th, 2012

Products come, & products go; & we have seen the evidence of this by the unfortunate withdrawal from the mortgage market in August 2011 of the Halifax Retirement Home Plan.

 

The global financial crisis has been challenging for many, and retired people or those looking to retire have seen a large amount of value disappear from their pensions. This can be stressful and causes worry, but finance options are still available for those looking to supplement their retirement. Equity Release Supermarket has access to market leading  interest only mortgages which are available only to people over the age of 55 & looking for ways to finance their retirement.

 

An example of such is the interest only lifetime mortgage is the Stonehaven Interest Select Plan. This is a unique and innovative option for many looking for additional financial relief in their retirement, but mindful of any inheritance that they wish to pass onto the heirs. Thus pensioner mortgages are now fully available to anyone over 55 & owning their own home.

 

The innovative Stonehaven Interest Select equity release scheme is unique among interest only mortgages as the total outstanding balance does not change. Instead of the interest rolling up like traditional equity release schemes, the interest on the Stonehaven Interest Select is paid monthly by direct debit. This is often done by the customer, but can be funded via the children or potential inheritors who are looking to keep the amount of debt on the property asset under control.

 

The great thing about the Stonehaven Interest Select equity release scheme is that the total amount of debt is managed for the duration of the interest only lifetime mortgage, making it a great financial product for those looking for interest only mortgages that don’t continue to eat into the ownership of the asset.

 

Due to this controlled nature, the Stonehaven Interest Select mortgages are fixed interest rate lifetime mortgages, the security of which many find appealing.

Stonehaven also provides a no negative equity guarantee, so even if the financial crisis worsens; there is no risk that a burden of debt will be passed on in the inheritance. These are two features which should be discussion points on any kind of interest only lifetime mortgages, as they provide important security and peace of mind.

 

Many people struggling to make ends meet during this financial crisis will be looking for ways to finance their retirement in a controlled fashion. Extra capital can really help to ensure that retirement is financially secure. At the same time, those looking for equity release schemes might be looking for control over how much value is traded for this additional security. Their research journey could start with the roll-up lifetime mortgage option, unaware that they are still eligible for an interest only mortgage even into retirement. Therefore, do not fall into the trap that some equity release brokerages will not advise this type of scheme is available. They may receive higher commission levels than payable by other companies, & this should not sway their advice.

 

Thats why approaching Equity Release Supermarket you will always receive comprehensive equity release advice; impartial & quality recommednations from experienced industry advisers.

They will discuss all your equity release options available, and endeavouring to find the right equity release solution for you. However, if your priority is to control the amount of equity that is being released from your main asset, then the Stonehaven Interest Select plan is THE innovative option to consider.

 

For further details on Stonehaven equity release plans please call Mark on freephone 0800 678 5159 or email mark@equityreleasesupermarket.co.uk.

 

Do Stonehaven Offer A Real Interest Only Lifetime Mortgage Solution Following the Demise of the Halifax Retirement Home Plan?

Tuesday, November 15th, 2011

Since its withdrawal in August 2011, the Halifax Retirement Home Plan has certainly left a void in the post retirement mortgage market. What options remain for pensioner mortgages?

 

Pensioners, who were proposing to use the Halifax Retirement Home Plan at a future date, unaware of its impending withdrawal, have now had their retirement plans severely disrupted.

Enquiries are still being received from retirees looking for a pensioner mortgage which can be used for a variety of lifestyle solutions.

With options from moving house, to holidays, gifting to children & home improvements, there has been a significant reduction in the interest only mortgage options available.

 

So why was the Halifax Retirement Home Plan Withdrawn?

Enormous demand for the Halifax Retirement Home Plan apparently consigned the product to its own demise. Success is not usually associated with dramatic failure, but it seems the Halifax Retirement Home Plan was in this case, a victim of its own success.

Given the volume of applications Halifax was receiving, even a lender the size of Halifax was struggling with such popularity. Towards its latter days the Halifax back office systems were choking, solicitors being incorrectly instructed & timescales reaching unacceptable levels, so much so that Halifax have actually compensated clients due to administrative errors.

 

Reasons for the Halifax Retirement Home Plan’s Popularity

Since the products inception in July 1984, the Retirement Home Plan lay hidden in Halifax’s mortgage book for many years.

However, certain intermediaries specialising in equity release, subsequently understood the product had a role to play in providing best advice & offered an alternative to roll-up equity release schemes.

Not everyone is suited to a lifetime equity release scheme where the interest rolls up & compounds annually for the rest of their lives. Roll-up schemes to some pensioners can prove off extremely off-putting, with the balance approximately doubling every 10-11 years. The resultant effect & the impact of the compounding of interest will be that their beneficiaries will receive a significantly lower or completely eroded inheritance.

 

Therefore, for retirees who did not want this scenario, the interest only lifetime mortgage proved an excellent alternative. Obviously supported by a good secure disposable income, the Halifax monthly mortgage payments could be fulfilled, with the resultant effect of keeping the mortgage balance exactly the same for the remainder of the mortgage term.

However, the doomsday scenario did eventually arrive & the Halifax Retirement Home Plan was pulled on 17th August 2011 at very short notice.

 

Regulation & the FSA Effect

With the FSA (Financial Services Authority) now imposing stricter regulation on interest only mortgages, this has impacted on the whole post retirement mortgage market.

Regulation here should be reviewed & consideration given to the plight of pensioners.

Over 60’s looking for finance have fixed income for life.

They are already drawing their state, private & occupational pensions.

They are therefore in receipt of a guaranteed income for life.

They can’t be made redundant, be off work due to sickness or take maternity leave!

 

Additionally & historically the retired generation of today have a different attitude to credit & tend to err on the side of caution. They have benefitted from house price booms of the last decades & consequently on the whole have a great deal of equity to release in their properties.

From a lenders perspective you can’t get much better security than this?

 

So why are the over 60’s being penalised?

After discussions with various lenders their defence has supposedly been the fragility of repayment. Considering monthly mortgage payments are paid by direct debit & pensions & retirement incomes are paid directly into the bank account, this doesn’t seem to hold true?

The distinction should be therefore be made between the people pre retirement & those post retirement with regards to interest only mortgages.

The FSA has understandably clamped down on first time buyers & mid life mortgagors taking out interest only mortgages with NO repayment vehicles. However, this has been to the detriment of pensioners whose cause has been undermined.

So for now we have to accept the level of caution in the mortgage market. However, moving forward consultation & consideration should be given to this corner of the mortgage market as it can have additional benefits to a fragile economy.

 

The reason being is that pensioners releasing equity in retirement do so mainly for lifestyle reasons:-

  • Home improvements
  • Deposits for the children
  • Holidays
  • New car/caravan

All these expenditures for one reason or another will help boost both the local & national economy.

 

What Interest Only Pensioner Mortgages Are Currently Available?

The aforementioned issues have arisen with the tightening of interest only criteria. Lenders will now insist on most mortgages expiring by age 75 & this will usually have to be on capital & repayment basis. More often than not this will result in the monthly cost being prohibitive, as paying off a mortgage of £50,000 over a short term of say 10 years can be out of most people’s affordability levels!

Nevertheless, a specialist equity release lender has analysed the situation better than most & hence we unveil the Stonehaven Interest Select Plan.

Offering SHIP security & choice as to the size of the monthly contribution, Stonehaven have covered all bases. This interest only lifetime mortgage provides lifetime fixed interest rates starting from just 6.13% thereby offering affordability now & into the future. With pension incomes rising over the years, but the monthly mortgage payments guaranteed to remain the same, the Stonehaven interest only equity release plan provides protection from future increases in interest rates.

However, it doesn’t end there because if financial difficulties do arise then there is always the option to switch it over to a roll-up equity release plan with Stonehaven. No further payments are then required & dependent upon whether the switch was planned ahead or not, will determine whether an extra 0.2% is added to the rate.

Stonehaven are members of SHIP & regulated by the FSA.

 

Rumour has it that niche lenders are now starting to look into pensioner mortgages & eyeing business opportunities, so there does seem to be light at the end of the retirement rainbow!

 

If you wish to make an enquiry on the Stonehaven Interest Select call the Equity Release Supermarket team on Freephone 0800 678 5159 or email mark@equityreleasesupermarket.co.uk

 

URGENT – Withdrawal of The Halifax Retirement Home Plan on 11th August 2011

Thursday, August 11th, 2011

It is with regret that we are notifying all our Equity Release Supermarket enquirers that the Halifax Retirement Home Plan is being withdrawn with effect from the close of business on Wednesday 17th August 2011.

 

After this date NO further applications will be accepted onto this scheme.

Therefore, to take advantage of this plan all applications must have been submitted by 8pm on the evening of the 17th August 2011.

There is some good news for existing retirement home plan mortgage customers in that they will remain unaffected & their terms & conditions will remain in accordance with their mortgage deed.

Post 17th August, no further applications will acceptable & this will be the last chance to gain access to this unique pensioner mortgage.

With further options for interest only lifetime mortgages remaining limited, act now to secure a last minute place on the Halifax Retirement Home Plan scheme.

 

To make a last minute enquiry call the Equity Release Supermarket team immediately on 0800 678 5159 or email mark@equityreleasesupermarket.co.uk

 

 
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