Mail on Sunday May 2019

NEARLY ONE IN FOUR HOMEOWNERS AGES 55 AND OVER WHO RELEASE HOME EQUITY DO IT TO BUY PROPERTY IMPROVEMENTS, research says

Almost a quarter of homeowners aged over 55 who release equity from their home do so to pay for property improvements, research has found.

In 2018, 22 per cent paid to upgrade their home, according to equity-release broker Age Partnership.

The Equity Release Council states that more than £3.9 billion of property wealth was accessed from British homes last year, with 22 per cent of that being spent on property renovations.

Age Partnership’s average release amount stands at just above £55,500, but more or less can be taken out of properties. Age Partnership offers calculating tools so that homeowners can work out exactly how much money they should release.

‘Using funds released from equity to improve your existing home is a good way to get the space you need or to change layouts to better reflect how you live now,’ says James Bernard, director of design and build company Plus Rooms.

‘Home extensions can radically improve your lifestyle as well as potentially add value to your home.

‘Generally, kitchen extensions tend to add the most value to your property over other home improvements.’

Equity release is available to homeowners aged 55 or over with a property worth at least £70,000, but experts say that anyone considering doing so should seek independent advice first, as it can affect the amount of inheritance you leave behind, and your entitlement to means-tested benefits.