Over two million older home owners are asset-rich but income-poor. With a little more money, many could improve their quality of life. Equity release deals enable them to draw on the value in their home. But few do so. This study assesses the obstacles to equity release and explores ways forward. The report acknowledges that there is much suspicion of the providers and products, and many income-poor home owners would lose means-tested benefits if they were to release equity to pay for additional care at home. It explores changes which Government could make to the benefits regime to help older home owners use their own resources effectively, and remain in their own homes as long as possible. It reviews how local government might better facilitate equity release, in collaboration with the private sector. Through exploration of this complex subject the report proposes ways in which older home-owners could be helped to draw on the value of their property to pay for home improvements and additional care at home.
Rachel Terry and Richard Gibson are both independent consultants. Rachel Terry specialises in housing finance policy issues. She has extensive experience in developing and implementing innovative financing solutions for many aspects of housing. She has previously researched the market for equity release schemes. Richard Gibson is a former Senior Civil Servant with much experience in developing policy solutions for local government finance and finance for private sector housing.