As a result of the pandemic 1.8 million over-55s are considering downsizing, according to Audley Villages.
A quarter of over-55s who are considering downsizing aim to do so within the next 12 months, while 54% plan to within the next two years.
Looking back on research conducted by Audley in 2019, just 6% of over-55s who were still living in their family home intended to move property within the next one to two years.
Over half (55%) of those intending to move plan to do so in order to live in a home, which is more suitable to their changing needs.
Meanwhile, 53% said that they want to live in a property which requires less maintenance than their current home.
In addition, 34% of over-55s said they want to move to a better location and 29% want to be closer to family and friends.
Research undertaken by Audley in 2020 outlined that the biggest barrier for people thinking about downsizing is a lack of suitable properties.
Almost half (48%) of over-55s outlined that more suitable housing option for older people are needed, and 42% noted that there should be greater support for older people who want to downsize their property.
Nick Sanderson, chief executive of 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.”