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Catch up with the latest press releases from LV=

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Confidence still strong among HIPpies

Press release: 01/12/2009

  • New research by retirement specialist LV= reveals 1.3 million over-50s still plan to cash in their property to help fund retirement1

  • Homeowners nearing retirement believe an average of £27,250 has been wiped off their property value in the last two years

  • But recent house price gains give renewed hope for retirement plans – prices rose by 0.4% in October 20092, the sixth consecutive monthly increase

The original 1960s hippies celebrated flower power, but as this generation approaches retirement, a new ‘HIPpy’ spirit has taken hold. According to a report published today by retirement specialist LV=, the ‘Home Is Pension’ mantra is still strong among Britain’s over-50s workforce. Although those surveyed believed that an average of £27,250 has been wiped off the value of their homes3, an estimated 1.3 million HIPpies still plan to use their property value to help provide retirement income.

In total, over-50s homeowners estimate they have lost £80 billion in property value due to recent housing market falls. Yet only 2% say have been turned off the idea of using their home to fund retirement, while a further 11% plan to take advice on unlocking the value of their home before they retire.

The new research also highlights the impact of the long-running house price boom on pension savings behaviour among over-50s homeowners now nearing retirement.

  • One in eight (12%) have consciously saved less into traditional pensions because of the perceived spiralling value of their home.

  • A further 13% say they couldn’t afford to buy their own home AND invest in traditional pensions, because property prices were so high.

Those nearing retirement hit hardest

The LV= research reveals that the house price plunge has hit hardest among homeowners within five years of state retirement age (age 60 to 65) Six out of ten people in this age group(58%) believe the value of their home has dropped by an average of £29,000.

However, many enterprising over-50 year olds have plans to recoup this lost equity. One in six (17%) will make home improvements to add to the value of their house, and one in five (21%) say they will save extra money wherever they can. Nearly a third (29%) say they will simply bide their time for property prices to recover.

Recession double whammy for over-50s

Many over-50s are experiencing a ‘double whammy’, having seen large amounts wiped off the value of their pensions and investments whilst also being forced to reduce the amount they are setting aside for retirement due to the pressures of living costs during the recession. One in five over-50s (20%) have had to cut their savings by an average of £137 a month4, meaning that many more in future may need to cash in on the value of their homes to make up for pensions shortfalls.

Trade down or stay put

Trading down to a smaller house is one obvious way to release money from property value. But over-50s homeowners who prefer to stay put can still realise some of the value they have built up, by using a suitable ‘equity release’ or ‘lifetime mortgage’ arrangement. However, this is a decision that should only be taken after careful consultation with family members and a professional financial adviser, as it will affect inheritance plans.

Vanessa Owen, LV= Head of Equity Release, said: “In the decade leading up to the credit crunch, more and more homeowners saw their property as a potential cash cow to aid retirement. But in a matter of months millions of pre-retirees have seen both their property and pension fund values battered. Despite this, their confidence in the long-term value of bricks and mortar remains. House prices still have some way to go before full recovery but with increases for six consecutive months now, our HIPpies are feeling more confident that their home can still play a big part in helping to finance their retirement.”

On track to retirement

The LV= research also reveals that the majority of over-50s (34%) believe it will take three to five years for house prices to return to their former value. This may explain why four in ten (41%) of those planning to use their home to boost retirement income feel they are still on track to retire as planned.

Traditional pension not enough

One in six HIPpies (16%) believe that their traditional pension savings are no longer enough to retire on and that their home is therefore the strongest pension option. A further 10% admit that their home will be their only source of retirement income beyond the State pension.

Vanessa Owen concluded: “The recession has had a big impact on the personal wealth and pension pots of the over-50s, but for many their home is still a big part of their retirement income plans. Trading down to a smaller house, or using a suitable equity release product to get funds out of your existing home, can therefore play a big part in helping to make people’s retirement years more comfortable.”

LV=’s Lump Sum Lifetime Mortgage and Flexible Lifetime Mortgage enable homeowners to release equity from their property from £10,000 upwards. The Flexible Lifetime Mortgage allows homeowners to release equity now and also on demand later in the future.

1 All research conducted by Opinium Research in September and October 2009 amongst more than 4,000 over 50 year olds.

  • ONS over 50s population is 21,290,000

  • 29% of over 50 year olds are yet to retire = 6,174,100 (Opinium Sept 2009 research)

  • 79% of those yet to retire own their own home (Opinium Oct 2009 research) – 4,877,539

  • 9% of home owners will use the equity/value of their home to help fund their retirement = 438,978 people

  • 18% of homeowners may consider using the equity/value of their home to help fund their retirement= 877,957 people +438,978 = 1,316,935 over 50s

2 Nationwide House Index:

3 60%of over 50s homeowners say their property has decreased in value = 2,926,523 people. Average value wiped off properties is £27,250 = £79,747,751,750

4 All figures taken from omnibus research carried out by Opinium Research as part of the State of Retirement Report. An online poll of 1,551 British adults, all aged over 50, was carried out from 30th April to 5th May 2009

Notes to Editors:


LV= is a registered trade mark of Liverpool Victoria Friendly Society Limited (LVFS) and a trading style of the Liverpool Victoria group of companies.

LV= employs over 3,800 people, serves around 3.6 million customers and members, and manages around £7 billion on their behalf. We are also the UK’s largest friendly society (Association of Friendly Societies Key Statistics 2008, total net assets) and a leading mutual financial services provider.

Liverpool Victoria Insurance Company Limited, registered in England and Wales number 3232514, is authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority, register number 202965. Registered address for both companies: County Gates, Bournemouth BH1 2NF. Tel: 01202 292333.