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How wealthy has your home made you?

How wealthy has your home made you?

Category: Retirement

Updated: 29/09/2014
First Published: 29/09/2014

MONEYFACTS ARCHIVE
This article was correct at the time of publication. It is now over 6 months old so the content may be out of date.

Your home is undoubtedly your biggest asset, and if you've retired and managed to pay off your mortgage, you could be sitting on (or in) an absolute goldmine. This is even more likely given the rapid pace of house price growth over the last year, and figures from Key Retirement Solutions (KRS) reveal just how much you could have benefited…

Growth in pensioner property wealth

According to the figures, the average retired homeowner has seen their property wealth grow by £4,340 in the last three months alone, which has helped push overall pensioner property wealth to a new high. The latest Pensioner Property Equity Index shows that homeowners aged 65+ now have a combined property wealth of £827.796 billion – and they own it all outright.

This has been helped by property prices across the UK rising rapidly in the last year, and unsurprisingly, pensioners in London have benefited particularly strongly, having gained an average of more than £23,100 each in the past three months. Meanwhile, retired homeowners in the South East are more than £6,900 better off, and pensioners in Scotland have nearly £5,700 more – that's a lot of extra cash you could be sitting on.

Dean Mirfin, group director at KRS, commented on the findings: "Pensioners who own their homes outright are among the biggest winners from the strength of the housing market, and average gains of more than £4,300 in three months demonstrate the importance of property wealth.

"Those approaching, or at, retirement shouldn't overlook the value of their property when planning for the future. The new pension reforms coming into effect in April 2015 make a holistic approach to retirement planning even more important. Pensioners should seek advice to ensure they are aware of all the options available to them."

How to take advantage of it

Chances are, if you own your home outright, you're now a lot wealthier from it than you were a few months ago. So wouldn't it be good if you could properly benefit from that? As Dean Mirfin said, the value of your property could be put to great use when planning for your retirement, and there are two key ways you can take advantage of it.

  • Downsizing. Downsizing could well be one option. Selling up and moving to a smaller property could unlock huge amounts of cash, giving you a valuable lump sum that you could keep in savings and draw as an income. Of course, it isn't for everyone, but if you've got a big house that's largely empty after the kids have moved out, it could be worth considering.
  • Equity release. Equity release is another possibility, and could be a great alternative for those that don't want the hassle of moving. This method allows you to stay in your home while unlocking some of its value in the form of a lifetime mortgage – again, it won't be for everyone, but it could well be an option.

It looks as though equity release is becoming increasingly popular, too. The overall growth in property wealth has helped fuel the market in the last few months: KRS figures show that a whopping £641 million was released in this way in the first half of the year, with the average customer taking around £65,000 from their home. Now you just need to think about what to spend it on!

What next?

Is it time to make the most of your property wealth? Contact our equity release service to discuss your options.

Disclaimer: Information is correct as of the date of publication (shown at the top of this article). Any products featured may be withdrawn by their provider or changed at any time.

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