BOOMING house prices are forcing a quarter of first-time buyers to wait up to six years before stepping on the property ladder, research said today.
A report commissioned by the Bradford and Bingley bank's The Market Place organisation also found that 51% of Britons feel house prices are rising faster than they can save.
It revealed that first- time buyers were getting older, taking out larger mortgages and increasingly relying on friends and family to help them pay for a home.
The report said half were paying off debts when struggling to raise a deposit, while 22% have given up on the idea of saving altogether and are pinning their hopes on a 100% mortgage.
One in four first-time buyers take between four and six years to buy their first home, the report added.
David Bitner, head of product operations at The Market Place, blamed house price inflation and a "buy now, pay later" culture that had left consumers with more debts than savings.
He added: "For every year they keep saving, property prices are rising that bit higher.
"With such a Catch 22 situation it's not surprising many have had to hold off buying."
The report also found 36% of first-time buyers were over 30 and 17% were older than 35.
The difficulty of providing a deposit was highlighted by findings that 71% have savings of under £11,000 - when the average property for new home-owners costs £93,925.
A third of those surveyed expected to spend between £95,000 and £145,000 on their first home, while 16% will spend between £145,000 and £195,000.
The research was based on responses from 1,214 people questioned by YouGov between February 5 and 10.
First-time buyers are defined as people who have bought a property in the past 12 months and people who intend to buy a home within the next 12 months.