The proportion of tenants "trapped" in the rental sector has reached its highest level in more than two-and-a-half years, despite government efforts to make it easier for people to buy a home.
Sixty per cent of renters said they could not afford to buy, an increase from 58pc three months ago. It is the highest proportion recorded in the property website's findings since 2011.
Lenders say more first-time buyers have entered the market thanks to schemes such as Funding for Lending, NewBuy and Help to Buy.
However, only 15pc of more than 3,000 renters questioned in the survey said their deposit saving is on course amid high inflation, poor returns on savings and sluggish wage growth.
About a third of "trapped" renters had previously owned their own home, the study found. Many were forced to sell by the tough economic conditions.
Despite the challenges, 96pc of current renters still dream of owning an hour. One in six of those expecting to buy their first home this year were 40 years old or over.
"In spite of buying looking increasingly attractive as the costs of renting continue to rise, saving a deposit continues to get harder."
Recent research from Halifax found that first-time buyer numbers soared to their highest levels in the first half of this year since 2007. However, a growing proportion of these buyers found themselves having to pay stamp duty on top of raising funds for a deposit as house prices rose.
More than half of this year's first-time buyers bought homes which were over the £125,000 stamp duty threshold, at which a rate of 1% kicks in, up from 44% a year ago.