Nearly half of homeowners consider home in retirement planning

12 August 2015
A survey conducted by equity release provider more 2 life shows that homeowners are increasingly looking to their properties to plug the gap in their pensions.The firm claims that research among homeowners aged 55 to 64 shows 'strong support' for using property to fund their retirement, while more than half (51%) of younger homeowners aged 45 to 54 regard their property wealth as part of their retirement planning.According to more 2 life just 17% of homeowners aged over 45 would not consider accessing their property wealth to boost retirement planning.The firm says nearly 60% of those respondents aged 65 and over indicated that they would like to see more specialised borrowing products designed for retired people. Growing demandDave Harris, managing director or more 2 life, comments: "Pension freedoms have put property wealth at the heart of retirement planning by increasing flexibility over how savers can access their cash."There is a very clear and growing demand to access home property wealth across the UK. There are lots of people in the UK whose retirement will be transformed and their tax bills potentially reduced if they looked at their pension and property assets together."Harris refers to the fact that because they are drawn as a loan against the value of a home, funds garnered through equity release are not subject to income tax, in contrast to pension withdrawals. However, the 'roll up' nature of the interest charged for an equity release 'lifetime mortgage' may mean that retirees pay more in interest than they would through income tax on pension income.Moreover, those who choose to sell only a proportion of their home in return for a lump sum through home reversion will realise only between 20 and 60% of its market value. Annuities dwindleSeparate research published by the financial adviser network also shows that fewer and fewer retirees are looking to annuities to fund their retirement, following new pension freedoms that came into force in April.The firm claims that fewer than one in five retirees now intend to opt for the traditional annuity to fund their pension, as the rates on offer have become less and less competitive as a result of historically low interest rates caused by the Bank of England's £375 billion quantitative easing programme.The research suggests that one in three people now plan to withdraw their entire pension pot and either reinvest or spend it. This is despite the tax implications, with any funds withdrawn from a pension beyond the 25% tax-free cash lump sum charged at a taxpayer's marginal rate (20%, 40% or 45%).Commenting on the research, Karen Barrett, chief executive of, says: "There is no denying that the retirement landscape has changed, and what was previously a straightforward transition is now fraught with new questions."What's clear from the research is that many people are seeing only part of the picture - they are so keen on the idea of a big lump sum and full control that they forget to think about things like tax, and what happens if their pension pot runs out."

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