The number of over-50s customers seeking equity release to undertake home improvements rose by 134% in 2021, according to data from Legal & General Financial Advice.
The business compared the first five months of 2021 to the same period last year, finding that the number of customers looking to unlock wealth from their home to make renovations initially rose in August 2020, and has been one of the main reasons for customers looking to take out a lifetime mortgage since then.
Recent research commissioned by the Good Home Inquiry found that 63% of people approaching later life in England see home renovations as a priority in the next two years.
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However, 50% of those aged between 50 and 70 said the main reason they would not be able to carry out all the renovations they want is because they cannot afford it.
The data also showed a 96% rise in the number of enquiries about gifting money to loved ones in the first five months of this year, compared to 2020.
Sara McLeish, chief executive of Legal & General Financial Advice, said: “Over the past year we have spent more time in our homes than ever before, which has led to a rise in home improvements to make our homes as comfortable, enjoyable and functional as possible.
“As well as cosmetic improvements, as we get older it’s important our homes adapt as our needs change and renovations can be vital in improving accessibility.
“Sadly, many people are not able to undertake this vital work because they cannot afford it.
“Unlocking equity from the home is one possible solution for those who need extra money to make much needed improvements.
“We know that the Bank of Family has been lending money for decades for things like house deposits but, during the pandemic, the older generation has been relied upon as a vital source of financial support.
“Our data shows there has been a significant rise in the number of older family members looking to use equity release to gift funds to their younger relatives, a trend that we expect to become more commonplace.
“Giving money to a family member can be hugely rewarding and can often make good financial sense, but the key is not to lose sight of our own longer-term plans.
“There is a risk that people could be underestimating what they need to fund a comfortable retirement and, therefore, it’s important to gift sensibly.
“This includes thinking about our own ambitions for our lifestyle in later life as we cautiously begin the transition back into our normal way of living.”