UK house prices
Home ownership is increasingly a pipe dream for the under-45s dubbed "Generation Rent"Reuters

Britons desperate to buy their first home say the biggest barrier is saving up for a deposit, as new figures suggest it would take almost 19 years on average for them to put enough cash aside.

Halifax said in its Generation Rent 2014 report that the average amount people could put away a week is £31.72, or £1,649.44 a year.

The average deposit size required by banks has hit £30,943 – meaning it would take 18.75 years to save for it.

Of those who plan to buy a home within five years, or who would like to but are unable, 62% said a deposit is the biggest blockade to a mortgage.

Rising house prices, which the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said rose by 9.1% on average over the year to February 2014, drive up deposits even further.

Government schemes to make mortgages cheaper and easier to access, such as Help to Buy and Funding for Lending, are working for many. Deposit requirements and interest rates have fallen as a result of the stimulus.

But others still feel shut out of the property-owning market because of the nominal deposits needed, even if they are a smaller percentage of the property's value than in recent years.

Banks had demanded as much as 25% as a deposit, but 5% mortgages have become available again.

The survey also found that 48% of 20 to 45-year-olds think in a generation's time the UK will become a nation of renters rather than homeowners.

"With attitudes softening towards the social implications of renting, and the number of people who say they will never own a property increasing, we may be heading towards the point where the aspiration to own a nice home will be replaced by the aspiration simply to live in one," said Craig McKinlay, mortgages director at Halifax.

"It seems that people are now beginning to accept a lifetime of renting and this would not only change the way the property ladder looks in the future, it could even bring into question whether or not it will exist at all for some people."

Halifax polled 8,026 20 to 45-year-olds online for its research.