Older homeowners stuck in big properties
Research suggested as many as 5.3m homes had at least two bedrooms are empty and older people occupy large houses worth £820bn.
In total there are 7.7 million spare bedrooms in the UK.
The study, conducted by Legal & General and the Centre for Economic and Business Research said a third of over 55s had considered moving to a smaller property, but only 7% had done so.
Legal & General said this was due to a lack of suitable properties for older people.
This backlog is causing problems for the whole housing market, as people are not able to move up the property ladder when they are younger.
Stephen Smith, director of housing at Legal & General, called for a greater focus on the housing crisis and for a long-term plan to be implemented.
“We currently have a housing crisis in the UK and there is a chronic shortage of appropriate properties to meet this huge demand,” he said.
“Government policy is focused on schemes to build more homes for first-time buyers and to help people get onto the property ladder. Initiatives like Help to Buy which encourage the building of more homes are always very welcome. However, at present, the last-time buyer market is being hugely overlooked and as our figures show it could help to solve the UK housing crisis.”