15th June 2022

The equity release industry has faced an uphill battle to shed the negative perceptions which have followed it around for the last several decades. While not unreasonable, those perceptions are largely outdated and it’s now time to look through fresh eyes at how housing wealth could be used by older people.

At one end of the age scale we have the increasing challenge of funding a moderate (never mind comfortable) retirement as the role of DB pensions continues to ebb. At the other we have the ever-more-difficult prospect of getting on the housing ladder. And we’re all caught up in a cost-of-living crisis.

Many of those in retirement will own their own house – with median housing equity of £250,000 – which could potentially form a solution to these twin challenges.

In this paper we look at this potential, how it could work, the current challenges and what has to change. We make recommendations for the government, FCA, advice community and equity release sector.

A key reason for not using housing wealth for income is preserving inheritances. But is that what families really want their older relatives to do? We asked YouGov to find out for us and the response was illuminating.

House Rules is, thanks to Royal London and Responsible Life, free to download. Rather than the end of a research process, this paper is the start of a dialogue we hope will lead to positive change. Take a look and let us know what you think.