Since the financial crisis of 2008, a rising number of independent financial advisers confirm that they are receiving more enquiries about lifetime mortgages and the benefits of equity release in helping improve retirees standard of living.
As the rewards from private pensions fall, low interest rates affect savings returns and people are requiring their retirement income to stretch further into retirement, homeowners aged over 55 are looking at what equity release benefits they could achieve.
There are many personal reasons for this, and the capital generated is used in different ways. Some people look to make improvements to their own homes, earmark money for care, or look to give their children a lump sum as an early inheritance, before they die.
Recent press reports suggest, however, that more and more people are using these equity release benefits to pay for holidays in the sun, even buying a second property in the sun.
The health benefits of a winter sun break are well-known, but savings on winter fuel bills in the UK, while absent from your home, are another plus. As long as the property isn’t left unoccupied usually for greater than 6 months of the year, then equity release lenders and your house insurance company are perfectly happy.
Southern Europe is a popular destination for those taking advantage of the benefits of equity release. Some will go further south to the Canary Islands, where temperatures can still nudge 20C over the winter months. Islands such as Tenerife and Lanzarote remain popular with British sun seekers.
Further afield, Florida also offers warmer climes for holidaymakers. For many years, residents of states further north in the USA have wintered in Florida, but now Brits are joining them in large numbers.
Current exchange rates also make South Africa a favoured destination, and released funds will stretch much further there.
The other option is the favourite holiday of retirees, and that is, of course, the winter cruise. Mediterranean cruises with visits to historic sites and cities are always popular, as are longer cruises during the winter to the Caribbean. The Norwegian fjords & other Scandinavian countries are proving popular with equity releasers.
Finally, many will use their funds for one of those once in a lifetime trips to visit family and friends during the southern hemisphere summer in Australia and New Zealand. Unable to afford the cost of the flights normally, taking equity release can benefit those visiting family members that have emigrated, or distant relatives not been seen for some time.
With so many destinations on offer, it is no wonder that equity release benefits are helping homeowners to spend more time looking for that ray of sunshine.