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A deposit is the biggest hurdle, with 28% claiming it is the most difficult part of home ownership to overcome.
Indeed, a 10% deposit on a typical first-time buyer home is at nearly 60% of gross annual income - a record high.
By contrast, just 14% say it's the ability to borrow enough that is the problem, while 12% believe keeping up with mortgage payments to be the main challenge.
Nationwide's poll of more than 2,000 people looking to buy their first home within the next five years found that 88% of would-be new buyers have had their ability to save for a deposit impacted due to the rising cost of living.
This rises to 93% for Scotland, 98% for Wales and 98% for Northern Ireland.
When asked whether 2022 is a good time to buy their first home, those starting out are very much split - 51% disagree while 49% agree.
Of the main problems noted by people about buying a home in the area they live in, 57% said it was high house prices, while 43% said rents were too high to be able to save.
The current pressure on finances is making people consider moving to other areas, according to the poll.
Around seven in 10 are willing to relocate to another part of the UK to get more for their money, with 65% willing to do so to get a bigger property.
The ways would-be first-time buyers are cutting costs to try and get on the property ladder include:
According to the poll, the average age prospective first-time buyers hope to buy their first home is 27.
However, 30% say it is unlikely they will be able to purchase a home by the age they hoped, with 33% admitting they've already gone past that age.
The struggle to get onto the property ladder is also driving people to think about buying with someone else to help make that first home purchase a reality.
Paul Archer, senior mortgages manager at Nationwide, said:
"Building a deposit remains the single biggest barrier to homeownership today, with many people starting out facing a long uphill battle to save.
The rising cost of living has made this even harder.
"With high house prices and the rising cost of living, we need to tackle the first-time buyer challenge on multiple fronts."