The popularity of equity release products has jumped as more conventional loans and mortgages dry up owing to the credit squeeze on UK lenders. Financial Times

Inquiries for equity release plans have risen significantly over the past two months, according to brokers and product providers.

'The last four weeks, in particular, have seen a great deal more activity,' said Bob Mottershead, head of retail sales at Newcastle Building Society, which acts as a broker for equity release plans.

The building society said sales had risen 12% between January and October and new inquiries had jumped about 15% since September. It estimated that the market for 2007 would be worth about £1.4bn, and predicted this would double by 2010.