The over 50s plan to spend the cash locked in the value of their homes rather than leave the money to loved ones when they die.

Just over half say property wealth accounts for a major part of their financial planning for retirement.

New data reveals property accounts for 40p in every £1 of wealth from the over 65s and 47p in the £1 for the over 75s.

The report from the Equity Release Council, a trade body for later life lenders, says 51% of over 45s see money locked in the value as their homes as important to their retirement planning, while 44% are ready to take out a mortgage and 40% feel later life borrowing is part of aging.

The cash is either kept for unexpected costs or given to younger relatives so the saver benefits from the money tied up in property during their lifetime.

Equity Release Council chairman David Burrowes said: “The UK’s ageing population and changing retirement landscape means people are increasingly thinking of property as a multi-purpose financial asset – particularly those aged 45 to 64, the retirees of tomorrow.

“Property is often a person’s single largest asset and makes a significant contribution to homeowners’ personal finances as well as providing a place to live.

“Changing attitudes to property are significant given the financial challenges facing our ageing population as they seek to live longer, healthier lives. Many people have made inadequate provision for their retirement and care needs, while others have younger family to support.

“Consequently, bricks and mortar have become a vital piece of the retirement funding jigsaw, to benefit people during their lifetime as well as their families.”