Homeowners aged over 55 are sitting on £90,000 more property wealth than they realise thanks to soaring house prices.
This extra housing wealth could be used in later life to fund a more comfortable retirement, according to new research by the Equity Release Council.
The average UK homeowner aged 55 or over paid £100,756 for their existing home nearly 18 years ago, which they estimate is now worth £257,584, a rise of 156%.
Yet the average UK house price has risen by 244% over the same period, according to the Office for National Statistics, lifting its value to £346,861 today.
That is £89,277 more than owners estimate. It means house prices have grown twice as much as over-55s realise over the last decade.
The Council blamed the confusion on low awareness of how price rises have affected the property market in the region where people live.
Chairman Nigel Waterson said: “It is no secret that the property market has been kind to many homeowners, but it is remarkable to see how far people underestimate the potential size of their housing wealth, which puts the average pension pot in the shade.
“At a time when savings are scarce and retirees face an uncertain financial future with the end of generous final salary pensions, these findings prove just how important it is that property wealth plays a role in financial planning for later life.”
Simon Chalk, equity release expert at Age Partnership, said: “We are reaching a tipping point, with more over-55s starting to look to their housing wealth to supplement their pension savings and fund a better quality of life in retirement."