Estate Agency Knight Frank targets the over-50s with equity release products

Knight Frank earlier this week launched a suite of products designed for older homeowners, including equity release and retirement interest-only mortgages.

However, as reported by Estate Agency Today agents have been muted in their response to Knight Frank’s initiative, which could be seen as accepting that downsizing – through selling and buying in the traditional way – is no longer the driving force in the housing market that it once was.

Zah Azeem, Partner at Scrivener Tibbatts continues: “We applaud this initiative by such a high-end estate agency as Knight Frank. the Financial Conduct Authority regulates this market very carefully so the miss selling of the 80s and 90s should be a thing of the past. Who could blame baby boomers releasing value in the properties they own in order to help their children or grandchildren climb up the property ladder themselves?” 

“The market for equity release is growing quickly. Over 55s hold the majority of all property wealth in the UK, around 75 per cent,” says David Forsdyke of Knight Frank Finance.

“We are seeing older people look to release equity from their primary residence for a number of reasons, including helping children financially, making home improvements and enhancing their quality of living, or to take the holiday of a lifetime. At the same time, we have seen a steady decline in pensions and savings, with retired people in the UK often finding themselves asset rich, but cash poor,” he adds.

Figures produced by Knight Frank suggest that the number of people aged over-65 living in the UK is forecast to increase by 20 per cent to 14.4m by 2027. The number of those aged 90-plus is expected to rise at an even faster rate, by a third, to more than 750,000 people over the same time. 

Knight Frank’s calculations suggest a need for retirement living properties for 3.6m people to house those aged over 65 that would consider downsizing. This is based on the assumption that 25 per cent of over-65s in their existing homes would consider downsizing into some form of specialist retirement living.

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