The researchers also examined attitudes to releasing the equity tied up in property. One in four current or former owner-occupiers had accessed equity at some stage: most commonly by borrowing against the value of their property, or ‘trading down’ for a smaller, less expensive home. The main reasons given for releasing equity were home repairs and improvements, paying bills or debts and buying essential items. There were few examples of people releasing equity to pay for non-essential luxuries.
Although owner-occupiers tended to think equity release was a good idea in principle, Equity release schemes marketed by financial service providers were regarded as too complicated, risk and difficulty to understand. Only one in 20 home-owners said they would consider an Equity Release Home Reversion Scheme.