Blog > Can you get equity release in Northern Ireland?

Can you get equity release in Northern Ireland?

By Clare Yates • 12th June 2023 • 5 min read

How to unlock your home’s value if you live in Northern Ireland

Wondering if you can get equity release in Northern Ireland? Read on to explore the region’s eligibility criteria, which providers cover Northern Ireland, and more.

The Equity Release Council reported a huge 30% increase in sales of equity release in Northern Ireland between 2017 and 2021. With average house prices increasing here by over £77,000 in the last ten years alone, it’s no wonder later life homeowners in the region are making the most of their surging property wealth.

To help you check your eligibility and understand more about equity release, we’ll discuss the following in today’s article:

We hope this article will help you understand everything you want to know about arranging equity release in Northern Ireland. For further information and advice, please don’t hesitate to contact our friendly selected equity release advisers.

Simply call us on 0808 178 3055 or request a call back and we’ll arrange a no-obligation appointment with an adviser for you. Alternatively, check your eligibility and get an initial indication of how much tax-free cash you could unlock.

What is equity release?

An equity release plan allows you to unlock some of the tax-free cash from your property to spend in any way you wish. There are two types of main equity release plan: lifetime mortgages and home reversion plans. Lifetime mortgages are more popular and most of the equity release plans taken out in the UK are of this type.

There are typically no monthly repayments to make with a lifetime mortgage as the loan plus interest is only repaid when you pass away or move into long-term care. At this point your home will be sold to settle the loan. Any money left over from the sale is left for your estate to distribute according to your will.

There are different types of plans and features which enable you to tailor your plan. These include:

  • Enhanced lifetime mortgage: If you have a qualifying health condition then you may be able to unlock more cash or lower interest rates. 
  • Interest-only lifetime mortgage: These let you prevent or reduce interest from accruing on your loan by paying off some or all of the interest each month. 
  • Drawdown lifetime mortgage: Release some cash now, then access further funds in the future as and when you want to. This can save you a significant amount of interest over time.

Can you get equity release in Northern Ireland?

Yes, equity release plans are certainly available in Northern Ireland. 

As with the rest of the UK, you’ll not get equity release in Northern Ireland by going to big banks such as the Bank of Ireland or Ulster Bank. To arrange a lifetime mortgage, you’ll need to deal with an equity release provider who is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). 

For an in-depth update on property prices and equity release trends in Northern Ireland, read our Equity Release: Northern Ireland – 2023 Market Report.

Am I eligible for equity release in Northern Ireland?

To be considered for a lifetime mortgage in Northern Ireland you must:

  • Be 55 or over (this applies to both of you if a joint application)
  • Have a qualifying home worth £70,000 or more
  • Take out the plan on your main residence
  • Be mortgage-free or have a small mortgage which can be paid off by the money you release

If you meet the above criteria then you can use our free online Northern Ireland equity release calculator to see how much you could unlock from your home.

Not yet old enough to arrange a plan? There may be other ways to release equity if you are under 55

Who are the top equity release providers in Northern Ireland?

The two main equity release providers in Northern Ireland are Aviva and Just.

Both of these providers offer lifetime mortgages to owners of freehold or leasehold houses and bungalows in Northern Ireland. They also offer lifetime mortgages to owners of leasehold flats and maisonettes in Northern Ireland. Freehold flats are not acceptable

There are some differences between the two companies in terms of their equity release plan criteria and features, including:

  • Just offers interest-only plans, whereas Aviva does not.
  • Just has a minimum release of £10,000, but with Aviva the minimum you can release is £15,000. 

The good news is that by coming through Equity Release Wise, our selected advisers can help you compare providers so you can be sure you are making the best decision. They can also liaise with the providers on your behalf to secure the best deals

What are the main types of equity release in Northern Ireland?

If you are looking to arrange an equity release plan in Northern Ireland then your main option is going to be a lifetime mortgage, the most popular form of equity release. This is because Aviva and Just do not offer home reversion plans.

One of the reasons that lifetime mortgages are so popular is because you will retain 100% ownership of your home after releasing your money from it. You can also make voluntary payments towards your plan to reduce or prevent interest accruing on it.

Aviva and Just even allow you to make penalty-free payments of up to 10% of your overall loan each year if you wish. It means you could clear your whole loan in around ten years if you paid the maximum amount each year.

Can I move house in Northern Ireland with equity release?

Equity release is typically intended to be a lifetime commitment. However, lenders understand that some people in retirement choose to downsize or move closer to family. 

So as long as you select an Equity Release Council approved plan, you’ll have the freedom to move house and take your plan with you penalty-free, subject to your new home meeting your lender’s criteria. This is known as ‘porting’ your plan.

At Equity Release Wise, our selected advisers will only recommend these types of plans to ensure customers receive the highest level of protection. The good news is that both Northern Ireland equity release providers – Aviva and Just – are members of the Equity Release Council.

If your new property doesn’t meet your lender’s criteria, you may have to  pay off your loan in full in order to move. In this case, early repayment charges (ERC’s) may apply.

You can read more about moving and selling your home with equity release here.

How can I arrange equity release in Northern Ireland?

To get started on exploring and arranging equity release in Northern Ireland, you’ll need to speak to a specialist equity release adviser.

The industry’s regulatory body, the Equity Release Council, insists that all customers must receive advice before signing up for a lifetime mortgage or home reversion scheme. This rule helps to prevent equity release horror stories from happening and ensures customers do not rush into a plan if there is a better financial option available to them.

That good news is that our friendly selected advisers are here to help homeowners in Northern Ireland to:

  • Verify your eligibility
  • Check if a plan is actually the best financial option for you
  • Search for the most competitive equity release quotations
  • Explain all the pros and cons of each type of plan you are considering
  • Help you decide which plan best suits your unique wants and needs
  • Answer all your questions including “Who does equity release in Northern Ireland?”
  • Expertly guide you through the application process through to completion

Our selected specialists are ready and waiting to help you explore your Northern Ireland equity release options and find the best plan for your needs. 

Find out what’s possible for you: get a free quote or talk to one of our friendly consultants by calling 0808 178 3055 or request a call back.

About Clare Yates. With over a decade’s experience writing about later life financial planning, Clare offers a wealth of knowledge about equity release, pension annuities, wills, LPAs and more. When she isn’t writing, Clare likes to spend her time baking and going on walks with her husband, two children and their rescue dog. Follow Clare on LinkedIn

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