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Equity release lending has gone up by 11 per cent year-on-year to £710m in the first half of 2015, according to the Equity Release Council.

They have issued a report which shows equity release lending increased by £69m from £641m in the same period of 2014, the highest amount lent in the first half of the year since 2002.

More than 10,000 new plans have been accepted in each of the last four half-year periods. However, average equity rates have fallen below 6 per cent for the first time. In July the average was 5.97 per cent – 0.55 per cent lower than at the end of 2014 – which represents the biggest fall across all mainstream borrowing, apart from personal loans.

The report also shows how drawdown products have overtaken lump sums in popularity. In the first half of 2015 drawdown made up 65 per cent of equity release products, while 35 per cent of customers choose a lump sum, and 1 per cent took out a home reversion plan.

By comparison, in the same period in 2007 – the busiest on record – 44 per cent of products were drawdown, 51 per cent lump sum and 5 per cent home reversion.