UK pensioners are more reliant on their homes than in any other European nation, a report from Dutch banking group ING has revealed.
The survey of 15,000 consumers across Europe found that one in five (21%) Britons are reliant on their home to help fund their pension compared to the European average of 15%.
Over-60 UK homeowners sit on £1.3 trillion of property wealth.
Bernie Hickman, Managing Director, Legal & General Individual Retirement Solutions, said: "It is a peculiarly British belief that ‘my home is my pension' – so it's no surprise to see that we're the most likely in Europe to see our main residence as a key element of our retirement funding plans.
"Given Brits' general reluctance to downsize – and the lack of suitable properties being built for last- time buyers to move into in the UK – retirement lending is going to play an increasingly important role for those in retirement.
"Retirement lending is an idea whose time has come, and a greater range of more flexible products will help older borrowers. It's crucial that our industry makes bolder moves to cater for older homeowners and enable them to access the money they need to fund their retirement."
Four in five (79%) consumers around Europe consider it better to own than rent, an increase on 75% recorded last year as more see the importance in having a house as an asset.
The UK is the fourth highest when it comes to house price optimism behind Turkey (82%), Luxembourg (76%) and the Netherlands (70%) – as seven in 10 (70%) Britons are optimistic.
At the other end of the spectrum just a third (35%) of Spaniards are confident in the state of their housing market.
Ian Bright, ING senior economist, said: "House prices are on the up in many European countries and consumers remain bullish that this will continue.
"As a result, we're seeing more people viewing property as an important financial asset – including countries where renting is the norm – but there is also frustration with property being increasing unaffordable."