It looks like the Equity Release bubble may have burst, with latest figures showing a four per cent fall in the amount retired owners have withdrawn from their homes.
In its Equity Release Market Monitor report, the specialist ER consultancy Key says retired homeowners released nearly £3.45 billion last year, which is some £150m less than in 2018.
The number of new plans taken out by owners has also fallen, down three per cent from 47,081 in 2018 to 45,598 last year.
Some agents have been critical of Equity Release, saying it should be taxed to put it on a level playing field with those older owners who instead choose to downsize and, in so doing, pay stamp duty.
Key says the most active area for ER remains the South East, where retired owners released £970m in 2019 - a drop from the 2018 level of £1,047m.
Key chief executive Will Hale puts the 2019 drop down to the wider economic and political uncertainty.
"Although we saw small year-on-year falls in the value and volume of equity release taken out, the last two quarters were more upbeat and we start the year with a positive headwind fuelling the belief that we will continue to see growth in the equity release market."
He says 2020 should see the ER industry educating and engaging with audiences.
"Boosting retirement income, helping people to pay for social care at home and helping the younger generation onto the property ladder are all positive outcomes delivered by taking a holistic approach to managing your assets in retirement” he says.