The future of equity release schemes in the UK

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


This thesis investigates equity release schemes, a line of financial products developed for homeowners of 55 years of age and above for the purposes of withdrawing home equity. Typically, an equity release borrower is able to borrow against the value of the house while living in it and without having to make regular repayments.

In recent years, policymakers have promoted housing wealth as a means for supplementing retirement incomes and paying for old age care costs as pensions become less generous and society rapidly ages. The House of Lords Ready for Ageing (Lords, 2013) report concluded pension savings in the UK was inadequate and that the Government should encourage pensioners to use their housing wealth to help pay for the cost of their social care and to release money to adapt their homes and to support their incomes. The commission recommended that the UK government should work with the financial services to encourage the attractiveness of equity release schemes. Earlier, the Report of the Commission on Funding of Care and Support (Dilnot et al., 2011) highlighted that housing-linked financial products such as equity release schemes are likely to support the elderly in contributing towards their care cost. High rates of elderly homeownership, high house prices particularly in London and the South East and developed financial systems in the UK provide a strong basis for the development of a market that supports housing equity withdrawal in later life. However, the UK equity release market is not as developed as it should be despite its long existence with limited product uptake. This thesis explores demand and supply issues relating to equity release products and suggests future policy implications.
Date of AwardDec 2019
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Queen's University Belfast
SupervisorDeclan French (Supervisor) & Donal McKillop (Supervisor)

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