More than half (53%) of advisers who sold an equity release product in the last year say their clients were motivated by the prospect of being able to stay in their forever home, research from Canada Life has revealed.

Other popular reasons were to fund home improvements (85%), pay off existing debt (85%) and to support family and friends (73%).

Despite equity release growing in popularity for those in and approaching retirement, more than three quarters (77%) said they faced challenges when supporting clients with these products due to scaremongering stories, whilst 59% cited lack of awareness among consumers about what equity release is, as a barrier.

property wealth equity release

Increasing demand for equity release as UK heads for double-dip recession

Just 11% of advisers felt there were no barriers to selling equity release products.

Other challenges included clients believing it is an expensive product (54%), believing that they won’t be able to leave an inheritance (46%) and believing that debt in retirement is bad (30%).

Just 13% of those who supported a client with a lifetime mortgage purchase in the last year say they presented the idea to their clients, whereas nearly two thirds (64%) said their clients came to them with the idea.

Alice Watson, head of marketing – insurance at Canada Life, said: “It’s clear that there are still massive misconceptions when it comes to equity release, and it’s our collective responsibility as an industry to dispel these myths.

“For many homeowners, equity release can be an effective way to fund retirement, while allowing them to stay in their homes.

“We know the concept of a forever home is hugely emotive and important to a lot of people, so it’s no surprise that a large number of equity release sales were motivated by the desire to stay put.

“However, while the findings also show that some advisers are still tiptoeing around equity release, homeowners are increasingly looking for flexibility and certainty when it comes to planning for retirement and property wealth has a significant role to play in this.”