RETIRED homeowners in the UK are boosting their finances by an average of £76,967 as the equity-release market continues to break records, new data suggests.

Figures from independent equity release adviser Key shows that its customers released nearly £5,500 more on average in the three months to the beginning of October, compared with the same period last year.

This money is typically used for a variety of different expenses.

In the third quarter of 2018 some 66 per cent used some or all of the cash to improve their homes or gardens, often 'age proofing' them to ensure they are able to stay in their homes.

The data also shows that 27 per cent gifted some or all of the money to help family or friends and 30 per cent used the proceeds from equity release to repay unsecured debts.

All areas of the country saw strong growth in value released, with Londoners receiving the biggest cash boost at £141,671.

But all retired homeowners released substantial new property wealth, with the lowest being £50,000 in Northern Ireland.

A breakdown of the figures shows that the biggest increase in value released and plans sold was in Scotland where the total value more than doubled.

Will Hale, Key’s chief executive officer said: “The substantial amounts that customers are able to release highlights how vital property wealth is to retirement planning.”