There are various equity release schemes to let you release some of the tied-up value in a property you own, see eg. http://www.equityreleasecouncil.com/faqs/
Is it ever possible to jointly purchase a property with an equity release company, to get the same effect from a property you don't currently own?
Say for example Bob has £X cash. Bob wants to buy a property that costs £X + £Y. Bob can't get a traditional mortgage as he is too close to retirement. Would an equity release company ever be interested in a deal where they contribute the £Y, Bob contributes the £X, and Bob and the equity release company both end up as part owners of the property? The £Y would be repaid on Bob's death from the sale of the property.
The end result is the same but the process of getting there is different. Is this a realistic prospect for Bob, and who would Bob need to talk to about arranging this? (Are there equity release brokers like mortgage brokers?)