Politicians are wasting an opportunity to solve the housing crisis by ignoring the size and strength of the last-time buyer market, new research suggests.
The market is worth £820 billion, including 7.7 million spare bedrooms, according to the research from Legal & General and economics consultancy Cebr.
The research has identified 5.3 million under occupied homes in the UK, with 3.3 million last-time buyers looking to downsize.
The typical last-time buyer lives in a four-bedroom house but wants to move to a two-bedroom property.
Almost a third of older homeowners considered downsizing in the last five years but only 7% actually did.
The research also showed that the total volume of the last-time buyer market will be 3.8 million properties worth £1.2 trillion by 2020.
Stephen Smith, director, Mortgage Club & Housing at Legal & General, said: "We currently have a housing crisis in the UK and there is a chronic shortage of appropriate properties to meet this huge demand.
"Government policy is focused on schemes to build more homes for first-time buyers and to help people get onto the property ladder.
"However, at present, the LTB market is being hugely overlooked and as our figures show it could help to solve the UK housing crisis."
Smith called on the Government to make it easier for older people to consider moving by relieving the onerous burden of stamp duty, creating better options for equity release and providing real alternative home types and better infrastructure.
"If we are able to get that right we will help older people in the UK move to homes which better fit their lifestyles and their needs and at the same time unlock large swathes of valuable housing stock for growing families."