Estate agency Knight Frank has entered the lifetime mortgage market.
The property sector giant created a Later Life Finance team to offer a range of products for the over 55s, including equity release options and retirement interest only mortgages.
This was after its research showed the number of people aged over 65 living in the UK could increase by 20 per cent to 12m by 2027, while the cohort of people aged 90 and over is expected to rise by a third to more than 750,000 people.
Knight Frank also identified a potential need for 3m retirement properties to house the number of people aged over 65, based on the assumption that 25 per cent of over 65s in their existing homes would consider downsizing into some form of specialist retirement living.
To this end the firm will provider the lifetime mortgages as well as advice on downsizing.
It stated: "The need to provide suitable financial and housing options for these individuals is more important than ever.
"The Later Life Finance team can also provide advice for those who need a short-term solution to help them downsize or buy a retirement home."
Chris Knight, chief executive at Legal & General Retail Retirement, welcomed the estate agent's move.
He said: "More competition can only be good for both the sector and customers, who will benefit from greater choice when it comes to accessing the pensions they never knew they had.
"The entry of another well-known name in the housing market will also encourage innovation from existing providers to develop products that offer yet more flexibility and value for customers."
He added: "It’s also clear evidence that releasing housing equity is no longer seen as a last resort but part of the mainstream conversation for supporting greater financial security in retirement.
"Equity release was the fastest growing part of the mortgage market last year and accounted for a third of all mortgages taken out by Britain’s over-55s."
James Colasanti is a freelance reporter for FTAdviser