Equity release loans intended for purchasing property rose by 116% year-on-year in 2021, according to research from more2life.

Over the same period – January to August 2021 versus January to August 2020 – there was also a 113% increase in the amount of equity used to fund property purchases.

This fits with the introduction of the stamp duty holiday in July 2020, which saw property purchase cases increase by 208% between H1 2020 and H2 2020.

While this started to slow towards the end of the stamp duty holiday, property purchases funded by equity release were still 234% higher than H1 2020.

The average property purchased with the support of equity release was £362,742, slightly higher than the average for all properties (£355,155).

The amount released (£91,603) was also higher (£85,541).

Dave Harris, chief executive at more2life, said: “It’s clear from these figures that the SDLT holiday proved to be an opportunity for retirees looking to purchase their forever homes, and that many of them have turned to equity release to boost their buying power.

“The dramatic rise in equity release used for property purchases since the first half of 2020 highlights how unlocking property wealth is a viable solution to help retirees obtain the home they desire, whether that’s to meet their changing needs in retirement or to move closer to family and friends.

“While the tapered SDLT holiday might be coming to an end soon, equity release will remain a valuable tool for over-55s looking to purchase their dream home.

“However, there is still much education that needs to be done as many consumers and even some advisers don’t realise that this is a viable way of funding a house move.

“Advisers have a key role to play in alerting clients to this option and then helping to guide them through the process.”

This data follows on from last month when more2life detailed that 94% of advisers are confident about the outlook for the equity release market over the next year, while 71% feel the same about the residential property market.