The rise of the forever home: using equity release to avoid moving out

Posted in: Corporate

  • The pandemic has made 76% of over 50s less likely to move out of their homes
  • Having a garden during lockdown and gaining a new appreciation for their home has influenced the decision to stay for life
  • 60% of over 50s say they are unlikely to move out of their house in future
  • Almost a quarter (24%) of those who aren’t looking to move are considering equity release to help them adapt their forever homes and avoid needing to downsize or relocate

The experiences of the past 18 months mean three-quarters of over 50s (76%) are now more likely to stay in their current home for life.

New research from financial provider OneFamily shows that one impact of the pandemic is that over 50s are less likely to relocate. Having had a garden during lockdown is a factor in this choice for more than half (53%), while 26% simply realised how much they love their home, having spent more time indoors recently.

Family ties play a role in not wanting to move too. One in four (23%) over-50s are keen on keeping space at home for loved ones to visit, after being apart during the last 18 months, while a fifth (21%) want to remain in their current house in order to pass it on to family someday. Meanwhile, 15% want to stay because of the happy memories in their home.

On the financial side, factors such as high house prices (10%), as well as the hassle and cost that the moving process can involve (31%) are major influences on the decision to stay put.

Three in five (60%) over-50s say they are unlikely to move house any time soon. Of these, one in four (24%) would consider taking out equity release, freeing up cash from the value of their property to fund amenities and adjustments rather than downsizing. In fact, 17% would rather spend money to make their house more accessible than relocate.

One in 20 over 50s has already taken out equity release (5%), but current rates on lifetime mortgages may make it worth looking for a new deal. More than half with an equity release product (54%) would be willing to renegotiate, while 20% do not understand how a change in rates would affect their equity release deal. In both cases, having a knowledgeable adviser to call on is key in helping them make the right choice.

Looking deeper into customer expectations, one in four (25%) would make an enquiry to renegotiate if it meant they could release more wealth from their property. Similarly, 28% would renegotiate if they thought it would reduce the impact of borrowing on their estate.

Matthew Ellis, Director of OneFamily Advice, said:

“Having spent so much more time at home over the last 18 months, and with many people still hybrid working, a lot of over-50s have a greater appreciation of their home. As a result, our research suggests people seem to be more reluctant to look into downsizing or relocating than they were before.

“So, there is likely to be a growing need for financial advice to help over-50s navigate the decision making process – whether that’s investigating if equity release is the right route to funding the renovations needed to live comfortably or to negotiate a better rate on an existing product.”

Notes to Editors

Unless otherwise stated, all research conducted by Opinium, on behalf of OneFamily, between 11th August and 17th August 2021, among a nationally representative sample of 2,000 UK adults aged 50+