According to a new report by the Resolution Foundation the time taken for an average low to middle income household to save for mortgage is now 22 years, compared to 8 years in 2001 and 4 years in 1991.
The Squeezed Britain report released today suggested that the steep climb in the time it takes to save for a mortgage could be due in part to lower credit availability from lenders, with many demanding deposits as high as 20%-25% of the value of the property.
Prior to the credit crunch mortgages up to 100% of the value of the property were widely available, with little or no deposit required even from those in the lower income bracket.
In spite of the bad news the number of of secured credit mortgages for first-time buyer mortgages is on the up, according to the Bank of England's latest Trends in Lending report, and some lenders have announced an increase in credit availability.
Potential homeowners may also face difficulty saving for a deposit as a result of stagnating wages and soaring rental prices, a sector in which demand often outstrips supply.
Overall, just 63% of low to middle income households are on the property ladder compared with 70% a decade ago says the Resolution Foundation. The picture seems particularly bleak for the under 35s, as figures suggest that only 34% of households under 35 and in the low to mid income bracket are homeowners, compared to 51% six years ago.
The report states:
"Housing is a critical component of household living standards. It is the single largest household expense and is an important route to asset ownership. While the aspiration for home ownership remains strong, a radical shift is taking place in the housing market with LMIs [Low to Middle Income households] under 35 finding it increasingly difficult to get on the housing ladder."
For the purposes of the report low to middle income households are defined as those living largely independently, with income below the UK median. The definition excluded those who are benefit reliant.
The Resolution Foundation is an independent UK think tank.