As house prices fall by 7%, equity release applications in Scotland more than double

Equity Release Solicitors’ Alliance member, Caesar and Howie report large growth in numbers of Scottish equity release clients April 2010: As Scottish houses prices have plummeted by almost 7%* during 2009, figures show a marked rise in equity release in the same period, according to Caesar and Howie, the first Scottish member of the Equity Release Solicitors’ Alliance, (ERSA). Comparing the first three months of 2010 with the same period in 2009, Caesar and Howie has seen a 55% increase in the number of equity release cases they advised on, supporting leading market figures which show that the value of equity release plans across Scotland increased by 102% from £4.5m (Q1 2009) to £9.1m (Q1 2010).** This growth represents a sea-change for the Scottish equity release market. Until recently, equity release has not seen the kind of growth in Scotland that has been evident elsewhere in the UK. Older homeowners with adult children have traditionally chosen to downsize from a larger house to a smaller one. However, an increased awareness of the benefits of equity release, coupled with a drop in house prices that make downsizing a less viable option, has led it to become an increasingly popular alternative. Another possible reason for the growth of equity release is increased regulation and protection in the sector, offering peace of mind to potential customers. Caesar and Howie’s membership of ERSA shows a commitment to specialist, impartial legal advice on equity release for all older homeowners considering an equity release plan. Releasing equity allows homeowners to remain in their home alongside generating money which can be used to improve their standard of living in the absence of a large pension, or to spend on home improvements and life’s luxuries. David Borrowman, Managing Partner of Caesar and Howie said; “Over the last year, we have seen a marked growth in the Scottish equity release market which comes from an increased awareness of the benefits of equity release, an increased confidence in the sector and a housing market that makes downsizing a less viable option.” “Roughly 95% of our cases over the past year have been down to enhancing “lifestyle choice”- in other words, to improve income during retirement by releasing capital from their homes.”