Around six in 10 estate agents say their experience shows that mortgage lending restrictions targeting customers aged 55 or over are causing problems in the market.
Some 58 per cent believe the current range of mortgages does not meet the needs of over-55s and 54 per cent want to see more action to help older customers borrow.
Research by Key Partnerships, an equity release firm, acknowledges that many older buyers do not necessarily require borrowing. But the agents questioned in the survey nonetheless say older homeowners typically face shortfalls when looking for their last move due to the premium prices for many properties for senior buyers, such as bungalows.
“Estate agents highlight how making it difficult for over-55s to borrow has a chilling effect on the housing market as a whole” claims Will Hale, a Key Partnerships director.
“Estate agents need to focus on solutions when assisting clients and it is clear that older customers would benefit from a wider range of options than offered in the mortgage market” he says.
“Estate agents who can discuss equity release as a potential alternative are able to benefit from an additional revenue stream by way of a referral commission by introducing potential clients to a specialist adviser as well as secure an otherwise lost house sale” Hale adds.
“Equity release is not readily seen as a solution for home purchase but rather a solution for those staying in their home. Equity release should be seen as an essential part of the home buying options available to older borrowers” claims Hale.
He says that in return for referrals, Key Partnerships pays introducers - including agents - an average of £1,450 on completion of the loan.