The vast majority of estate agents believe that not enough people are downsizing to free up family homes, according to conveyancing firm My Home Move.
This is leading to a stock shortage cited by 75% of 50 estate agencies surveyed.
My Home Move suggests that the downsizing shortage may be due to property attachment, a scenario where owners are reluctant to leave their homes.
Participating agents disagreed on this point, with 39% saying it may be having an effect and 46% saying they disagree.
A My Home Move poll of 1,000 homeowners found that 43% have experienced 'sadness, grief or loss' after moving, while 83% said they feel emotionally attached to their property.
What's more, 62% of those surveyed said they feel an instant sense of dread or nervousness at the thought of selling.
These feelings were most acute among those aged 45 and over.
“There has been talk for a number of years regarding the lack of housing stock and the need for people to downsize to free up family-sized homes,” says Doug Crawford, chief executive of My Home Move.
“But what hasn’t been discussed before is the emotional attachment people have to their homes.
“These buildings represent much more than bricks and mortar, they are the places where memories are made and as such hold enormous emotional value.”
“Through our findings we know that the thought of selling these homes for a significant percentage of homeowners, especially among those who are in the ‘downsizer’ age category, bring a sense of dread – and as such, it is not surprising that they would rather stay put than face the emotional upheaval they envisage,” says Crawford.
Earlier this week, a report compiled by Strutt & Parker and Octopus Healthcare revealed that almost half of adults aged 65 or over feel there is currently a lack of suitable properties to downsize into.