So-called ‘last-time buyers’ now make up more than a quarter of all households over the age of 55, according to research by Legal & General.
Age-specific housing is one of the most under-supplied areas of the market, its report found.
Almost half of last-time buyers who had considered downsizing said there were no suitable properties available, while around two in five last-time buyers live in a detached house and have lived in their home for 30 years or longer.
Over 55s could play a crucial role in unlocking the wider UK housing market, according to Phil Bayliss, head of later living at Legal & General (pictured).
He said: “A large section of our housing stock – worth nearly £1trn – is under-occupied and owned by people over the age of 55.
“It is vital that the over 55s are able to make and act on the choices that are right for them.
“If they were able to move to a property more aligned to their desired lifestyle and needs, vast swathes of homes would be freed up for growing families and second steppers.”
He added: “This, when matched by the huge health benefits proven to come from age appropriate housing, such as a 50% reduction in GP visits and 40% reduction in NHS spend, means that increasing the number of properties available to these buyers is the most efficient way to help solve the UK’s housing crisis and spiralling NHS costs linked to our ageing population.”