Two in five tenants living in rented property believe they will never be able to buy their own home, according to a new report.
Research by Halifax and YouGov also found that of those currently renting, around three in 10 think it is now normal for people to do so for life.
Younger generations are more hopeful, however, with only 14 per cent of 18 to 24-year-olds viewing renting for life as the new normal and more than half believing they will one day own a property.
By comparison, a third of 35 to 44-years-olds viewed renting for life as normal, and 28 per cent believe they will never buy somewhere.
Despite this pessimistic view of home ownership, over the last decade the number of first-time buyers in the UK has actually risen, from 72,180 in the first half of 2009, to 170,060 in the first half of 2019.
The average age of a first-time buyer has risen slightly from 30 to 31 over the same period, with more than half of all mortgages now going to this group – the first time this has happened since 1995.
Russell Galley, inset, managing director at Halifax, said: “Taking that first step onto the property ladder remains a rite of passage for many.
“Last year, first-time buyers accounted for the majority of the mortgage market for the first time in well over 20 years. This shows that with the right support and a few sacrifices, home ownership can remain an attainable goal.
“The financial hurdle of saving enough for a deposit might feel like a daunting or at times near-impossible task, but there are a number of options out there, including government schemes and family support mortgages, to help put first-time buyers on the right track.”
Mortgage affordability and saving for a deposit remain the biggest challenges, with two-thirds saying it was the biggest hurdle.