We all know getting on the property ladder is difficult, but new research has revealed the number of wannabe first-time buyers stuck renting because of difficulties getting a mortgage.

According to the research by credit agency Experian, nearly one in five private tenants think renting’s their only option because they don’t think they’d be accepted for a mortgage.

One in three put their plans to buy on hold and stayed in rented accommodation longer than planned, while 18% said they didn’t think they would be accepted for a mortgage so thought renting was their only option.

10% had been forced to delay plans to buy because they struggled to raise a deposit, and a further 5% had to prolong their time renting because they were held up in securing a mortgage.

A young couple try to work out whether they can get a mortgage

The research, carried out on behalf of Experian by Public Knowledge in October 2015, surveyed 1,470 private rental tenants across the UK.

The credit agency used the research to push its Rental Exchange, which allows rental payment information to be submitted to Experian, helping strengthen credit histories and so make it easier to get on the property ladder.

The plight of wannabe homeowners struggling to get mortgages or save up for deposits is nothing new, but the research reveals more details about potential their attitudes to the issue.

A quarter of respondents to the survey said they planned to buy a place of their own sooner rather than later.

9% were currently saving for a deposit and believed they would be able to buy within the next 18 months, while 16% thought they would need two to five years to build up the required deposit.

A third of private tenants said they were content to rent and had no plans to buy a home of their own in the next five years.

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According to Experian, despite making regular payments for their housing, private renters don’t see it reflected on their credit report in the same way mortgage payers do.

It said its Rental Exchange will help private renters to get a mortgage, access finance, or prove their identity online.

Jonathan Westley, from the company, said: “Many would-be first-time buyers face the challenge of saving for a deposit on a home while paying rent each month.

For sale and To Let signs in Oughtibridge near Sheffield. Picture courtesy of Terry Robinson

“While our research also shows that a significant amount of people are happy to rent in the long-term, whether it’s because they enjoy a good relationship with their landlord or the flexibility of rented accommodation.”

He said rent paid by tenants isn’t reflected on credit reports in the same way homeowners benefit from making regular mortgage payments.

“By adding this data through the Rental Exchange, people aiming to buy can build a stronger credit history to help them get a more competitive mortgage rate, while long-term renters can prove their identity when they apply for online services.”

More than 700,000 social housing tenants are expected to benefit from the Rental Exchange, working in partnership with Big Issue Invest, the social investment arm of The Big Issue.

Experian’s research also shed some light on those that find it hardest to get onto the housing latter.

According to the research, would-be first-timers frustrated in their efforts are more likely to be single parents or couples with children. 

These people either doubted they would get a mortgage, had difficulty securing one, or had struggled to get a deposit together.

Three-quarters of the group (74%) said they would like to see rental payments contribute to their credit report.

When it comes to people who are happy to rent, they’re likely be those who live alone or only with other adults and are less likely to see rent as ‘dead money’, the research found.