Equity release and pension freedoms reach new highs in the UK

Image of a doctor with a stethoscope and arms folded

Today sees the release of the latest Equity Release Council(1) and HMRC Pension Freedom(2) figures. Both report a record 12 months.

Equity Release: £3.95 billion of housing wealth was unlocked via equity release between July 2018 and June 2019. This is up £450 million (12%) on the previous twelve months, despite some slowdown in H1 2019. In Q2 2019 alone, £911 million was unlocked via equity release. This exceeds the total amount that was being unlocked over four quarters just a decade ago.

Image of a doctor with a stethoscope and arms folded

It is notable that the use of drawdown mortgages now dominates the equity release market, representing more than two-thirds (67%) of new plans taken out in Q2 2019. Flexible use of equity release is growing fastest.

Pension Freedoms: £8.7 billion has been withdrawn from pensions via the pension flexibilities between July 2018 and June 2019. This is up £1.6 billion (23%) on the previous twelve months. Q2 2019 alone was an all time high, with £2.75 billion being withdrawn via the pension flexibilities.

As with equity release, thousands are seeking flexible use of their pensions. The average amount withdrawn per individual continues to trend downwards, to an average of £8,184 in the latest figures. This eases the concern that the pension freedoms would drive a “dash for cash”.

Commenting, Alistair McQueen, Head of Savings & Retirement at Aviva said:

“Today’s figures show that people are turning to all their assets – property and pensions – to fund their later lives, like never before. And we have a record number of people saving for their retirement too, via automatic enrolment(3).

“The next ten years will see nine million people reach the age of 55 – the age at which we are typically eligible for equity release and the pension freedoms. Nine million is more than we have ever seen before(4).

“The desire of the nine million to flexibly blend their assets at retirement – property and pensions – looks set to keep growing.”

- ENDS -

Sources contain public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0.





Media enquiries

Fiona Whytock

Retirement, Savings and Investments

Notes to editors:

  • For information on how Aviva is helping our people, customers and communities impacted by COVID-19 visit:
  • We exist to be with people when it really matters, throughout their lives – to help them make the most of life. We have been taking care of people for more than 320 years, in line with our purpose of being ‘with you today, for a better tomorrow’.
  • In 2020, we paid £30.6 billion in claims and benefits to our customers. 
  • Aviva is invested in our people, our customers, our communities and our planet. In 2021, we announced our plan to become a Net Zero carbon emissions company by 2040, the most demanding target of any major insurance company in the world. This plan means Net Zero carbon emissions from our investments by 2040; setting out a clear pathway to get there with a cut of 25% in the carbon intensity of our investments by 2025 and of 60% by 2030; and Net Zero carbon emissions from our own operations and supply chain by 2030. Aviva has been leading this agenda for decades: Aviva was the first international insurer to go operationally carbon neutral in 2006 and we are champions of renewable energy and energy storage at our offices, allowing us to achieve our 2030 carbon reduction target (70% reduction on 2010 levels) 10 years early. Find out more about our climate goals at and our sustainability ambition at
  • Aviva is a Living Wage and Living Hours employer and provides market-leading benefits for our people, including flexible working, paid carers leave and equal parental leave. Find out more at
  • We are focused on the UK, Ireland and Canada where we have leading market positions and significant potential. We will invest for growth in these markets. Our international businesses in Europe and Asia will be managed for long-term shareholder value. We will also transform our performance and improve our efficiency. Our transformation will be underpinned by managing our balance sheet prudently, reducing debt and increasing our financial resilience.
  • Total group assets under management at Aviva group are £535 billion and our Solvency II capital surplus is £13.0 billion (FY20). Our shares are listed on the London Stock Exchange and we are a member of the FTSE 100 index.
  • For more details on what we do, our business and how we help our customers, visit
  • The Aviva newsroom at includes links to our spokespeople images,  podcasts, research reports and our news release archive. Sign up to get the latest news from Aviva by email.
  • You can follow us on:
  • For the latest corporate films from around our business, subscribe to our YouTube channel:
  • We have a Globelynx system for broadcast interviews. Please contact the Press Officer noted above if you would like to make a booking.

More from our Newsroom