By Claire West

More than eight out of ten young people (18-24) still aspire to own their own home by the time they are 30, reports the quarterly consumer survey published by The Building Societies Association today. Amongst potential first time buyers overall, more than nine in ten (94%) respondents say that they would ideally have bought by the time they are 35 with more than seven in ten (75%) having an aspiration to become a homeowner in their twenties.

'Property Tracker', which reports the views of over 2,000 UK adults about the housing market every three months, also highlights a sharp jump in the number of people who see raising a deposit as a barrier to home ownership, up from 62% in June to 69% in September, the highest percentage reported for this factor since the survey began in June 2008.

Conversely, only 16% of respondents said that they were concerned about future falls in house prices, down from 51% in September 2008 and 27% this time last year. In fact, almost one in four of those questioned (39%) thought that property prices would rise over the coming 12 months, with 26% believing that they would fall. The median forecast is for house prices to remain flat for the next 12 months.

Consumer confidence in property purchase has improved marginally in the last three months with 43% believing that now is the right time to buy, up from 41% in June. Confidence is markedly higher amongst those already on the housing ladder where 51% thought that now was a good time to buy compared to just 32% of those who are currently renting or living rent-free. Similarly 22% of existing homeowners felt that this was not the right time to buy compared to 37% of those in the rented sector or living rent-free.

Commenting on the views of UK consumers, Paul Broadhead, BSA Head of Mortgage Policy, said:

"It is encouraging to see that the aspiration to buy is still strong among young people. It's clear, however, that consumer sentiment coupled with some perceived barriers is dampening activity in the housing market right now. Undoubtedly consumers have some fears over long term job security and unsurprisingly pressure on household budgets is also having a huge effect.

"On the other hand, the availability of mortgage finance has improved, if modestly, and some lenders, primarily mutuals, are now offering higher loan to value ratio loans tailored to the first time buyer market.

"There is no doubt that the economic climate is difficult; however consumers are generally more upbeat today than they were back in 2008."

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