"What stands out is the sheer diversity of reasons people tell us they plan on using equity release for."
In the first quarter of 2018, 37% of Retirement Advantage customers took out equity release to clear an existing mortgage, up from the 27% who did so to clear existing mortgage debt in 2017.
Its figures show that 48% of customers took out equity release to make home and garden improvements, while 28% did so to consolidate unsecured debts.
The data from Retirement Advantage also reveals that 23% of loans taken out by their customers in the first quarter of 2018 were used to fund daily living expenses - up from 21% in the same quarter last year. According to Retirement Advantage, this increase suggests more people are using property wealth alongside pensions and other assets.
Elsewhere, 17% of people used equity release to gift to family, with a further 3% helping first time buyers onto the housing ladder.
Alice Watson, head of product and marketing at Retirement Advantage Equity Release, commented: “Equity release is flourishing, driven by growing numbers of people who recognise the critical role property wealth can play alongside other savings in funding retirement. What stands out is the sheer diversity of reasons people tell us they plan on using equity release for.
“Alongside one-off expenditures like paying off a mortgage or going on holiday, more people are using equity release to fund their day to day living. This is a sure sign that wealth stored in property is being considered alongside pensions, ISAs and savings accounts as part of a holistic view of finances.
“With younger generations struggling to get on the housing ladder, and higher education more expensive than it was for today’s retirees, we see a steady stream of customers who want to support relatives financially.
“As equity release continues to grow, driven by continued product innovation and supported by safeguards, I expect to see the range of uses for the products grow even more diverse in future.”