The research from Legal & General has revealed that there are 3.1 million last-time buyer households in the UK.
Last-time buyers are homeowners aged 55 or over living in a house too big for their needs, who would like to downsize.
Some 39% have considered downsizing their property, an increase from 32% three years ago.
Almost half of those who considered downsizing in the last five years but didn’t (49%) said it was because there were no suitable properties available, while 29% claimed that properties that were suitable were too expensive.
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Phil Bayliss, head of later living at Legal & General, said that last-time buyers accounted for more than a quarter of the total number of households aged over 55 (26%).
“This report highlights the crucial role they could play in unlocking the wider UK housing market, further demonstrating the need for government to recognise this sector through key policy changes.
“If right-sizers 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.”