Key Partnership said the equity release referral service confirmed that estate agents are becoming increasingly concerned about mortgage lending restrictions on customers over 55 and the impact this is having on the wider housing market.
The majority reckon that the current range of mortgages do not meet the needs of over-55s and 54% want to see more action to help older customers borrow.
The independent research, commissioned by Key Partnership, found that only 41% of estate agents are aware that equity release plans, which enable over-55 homeowners to access property wealth, can be used to buy a home.
A third admitted they are regularly asked for information and guidance on equity release, while 63% said they want to learn more about using equity release for house purchase.
Will Hale, director at Key Partnerships, said: “The mortgage market is working to make it easier for the over-55s to borrow, with regulators and lenders recognising there is an issue which needs to be addressed.
“However the experience on the ground is that it is still a major problem and the views of estate agents highlight how making it difficult for over-55s to borrow has a chilling effect on the housing market as a whole.
“Equity release is not readily seen as a solution for home purchase but rather a solution for those staying in their home. Equity release should be seen as an essential part of the home buying options available to older borrowers.”
Equity release advisers called for more competition in the sector today, saying record lower average rates of 4.23% could be driven lower if more lenders launched to drive competition.