Some 54% of over-55s are considering downsizing in the next two years, research from Audley Villages has found.
A similar proportion (55%) say they decided to think about downsizing earlier so they can live in a home which is more suitable to their changing needs.
Equally important (53%) is living in property which requires less maintenance than their current home, while location (34%) and moving closer to family and friends (29%) are other important factors.
Nick Sanderson, chief executive, Audley Group, said: “The pandemic has caused many people to reassess their life choices, and where and how they live is one of the biggest decisions anyone can make. For older people, living in a property that is easy to maintain, and will adapt to their changing needs, instantly removes a layer of stress.
“We have seen a surge in demand for our retirement villages during the pandemic and the average age of the buyers that are moving in has fallen this year, as more and more people realise that making this move early can be life changing.
“The difficulty is that there are not enough of these properties available. The demand for specialist retirement properties far outweighs the supply, and that’s not likely to change quickly enough without radical housing and planning reform that moves its laser vision from first time buyers and focuses on properties that that can make a real difference to the older population, while simultaneously freeing up family houses for younger people.”