New research has revealed that the number of properties built specifically for retirees will increase by almost 30 percent in the next four years.

Knight Frank’s retirement housing report says the private retirement property market will double in value by 2022, up from its current £44 billion.

Along the way, according to the real estate giants, the number of available units for sale or rent will rise by a third.

The lack of suitable properties for older homeowners to downsize and move into is illustrated in the Knight Frank report, which shows 16 retirees currently chase each existing private retirement property.

Retirement age population is growing

The UK’s retirement age population is expected to rise to 12 million within the next decade, increasing the pressure on a housing market that is currently struggling to serve older people and younger families.

With fewer suitable properties for retirees on the market, pensioners are remaining in homes that are too large for them, in turn restricting the supply flow to families who want to upsize.

Knight Frank’s report says an extra three million retirement living properties are needed right now simply to meet demand from the over-65s.

Many over-65s want to downsize

Meanwhile, independent equity release specialists Key claim a third of retirement age homeowners want to downsize but can’t find a suitable place at the right price.

Dean Mirfin, Key’s chief product officer, said: “Downsizing should make financial sense for older homeowners as it releases money to pay for retirement, and it also should make sense for the property market as a whole as it frees up bigger houses.

“Pensioners are sitting on property wealth of more than £1 trillion, which could significantly improve their standard of living in retirement. and helping them make the best use of that money would boost their finances and the economy as a whole.”