The scale of the task faced by potential homebuyers has been laid bare by figures showing the size of the average deposit needed has shot up tenfold since 1990.
Research conducted by first direct shows that over the last 20 years, the average house deposit has risen from £6,793 to £65,924.
A combination of an increase in house prices and a reduction in the amount of mortgage lending by many banks and building societies has seen an almost tenfold increase (9.7 times) in the required deposit on a property.
House prices have also risen in the same period by a factor of 4.3.
With the average household income having risen by just 2.5 times in the same period, buyers must now save for far longer to achieve this milestone purchase.
And with banks and building societies still reluctant to deal with high volumes of higher loan-to-value (LTV) lending, the average LTV is currently at its lowest ever level of 73%.
It is a far cry from the mid-90s when the average mortgage saw buyers stumping up just 10% of the home's value as a deposit.
"Much has been made of rising house prices, but the average deposit needed in the first place has actually risen more than twice as fast as house prices and almost four times as fast as income," said Bruno Genovese, senior savings product manager at first direct.
"This is why we are seeing first time buyers getting older, with more and more people struggling to get on the property ladder."
The research also found that 2010 was the most difficult year to buy a house in the past twenty years with the average house price 6.3 times the average household income, and the average deposit running at 1.7 times the average income.
The most affordable years were 1995 and 1996, with the house price ratio at a low 3.4 and the deposit ratio also the lowest it has been at 0.3 times the average household income.
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