2,000 people were surveyed
Despite rising numbers of people retiring, the number of dedicated properties for older people sold last year actually fell by four per cent.
Half of those surveyed said their failure to downsize was because they could not find the right property.
Nick Freeth of Retirement Homesearch, which conducted the study, said: “What the data clearly shows is that navigating through the retirement property market to find a home that is right for you is hard – especially when added to the stress that moving already brings.
Our latest figures show the knock-on effects of last year’s economic uncertainty
“Paying more attention to the factors which are important to people looking to downsize and increasing the number of specialist retirement
properties on offer could go a long way to easing the pressure which British people are faced with when making this decision.”
The survey of 2,000 people revealed that being close to family members was the biggest reason to downsize.
More than one-in-four said they would prefer an “easy-to-run” home, such as an apartment.
More than one-in-four would prefer an "easy-to-run-home"
But 48 per cent said that finding the right property was the main barrier to downsizing.
Getting rid of personal belongings and the emotional strain of leaving home were other major factors preventing one-in-three people making the move.
Mr Freeth added: “Our latest figures show the knock-on effects of last year’s economic uncertainty, with new buyer registrations down 25 per cent and sales down four per cent compared to the previous year.
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Getting rid of personal belongings was a major factor in preventing moving
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“As the UK is now faced with housing shortages, it is more important than ever before that we encourage the ‘last-time buyer’ movement and incentivise the older generation to take the leap.”
Viewings also fell, with 10,112 people looking around new homes in 2016. There were 11,749 viewings the previous year.
On average, younger generations would downsize by the age of 65 if possible, according to the research.