More downsizing could release almost three million homes into the market according to the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors.
Its latest policy review suggests that various measures could go some way to alleviating current housing problems.
These include the expansion of affordable ownership via planning controls insisting developers offer a percentage of new homes for 'affordable rent', regulations to oblige second home owners to release their properties for rental, and the creation of Self Invested Personal Pensions which would allow investors to put their money into Build To Let schemes.
But downsizing is considered perhaps the most effective way of improving supply in the market.
“We would like to see central and local government provide older people with the information, practical and financial support they need to downsize if that is their choice. This might include offering a fund to support with moving costs – Bristol City council is already piloting a great scheme along these lines – or perhaps a stamp duty discount" says Jeremy Blackburn, head of policy at RICS.
“Almost a third of over 55s have considered downsizing in the last five years yet we know only seven per cent actually did" he says.
RICS believes that the most consistent feature of the housing market over the last 18 months has been a shortage of homes on sale with stock levels on surveyors’ books dropping to lows not seen for at least three decades.
"If we are to get to grips with this country’s housing crisis, we need to look at supply-led measures across government and the wider industry in order to get the market moving” says Blackburn.