Nearly half of Britons who have not managed to climb on to the property ladder by their mid-thirties doubt they will ever be able to do so, a report has found.
The research from Yorkshire Building Society found 49% of people aged 35 to 40 who are not homeowners but would like to be think it is now "unlikely" or "very unlikely" they will ever own a property.
The survey, carried out by NatCen Social Research, found that more than two-thirds (69%) of young adults aged 18 to 40 felt owning their own home was crucial to feeling that they had succeeded in life, as well as a source of social and financial security.
Nearly a third (31%) of non-homeowners aged 35 to 40 have completely given up even trying to buy a home due to affordability issues, the research found.
It said this is equivalent to around half a million people across the UK expecting never to be able to afford to own their own home, unless there is a dramatic downward shift in house prices.
Andy Caton, executive director of Yorkshire Building Society, said: "It is very sad to see how the hope of owning a home is fading for so many, especially as people approach their mid-thirties.
"For most people, owning a home is not just about security, it is also evidently integral to their feelings of self-worth, success and self-esteem.
"Hundreds of thousands of adults across the UK feel unable to reach this important milestone in their lives, with many reaching the conclusion that they will never be able to buy their own home like their parents and grandparents did."
Various schemes have been launched in recent years to give people a helping hand on to the housing ladder, many of which go under the Help to Buy banner.
But the research also found that common barriers to buying a home included people worrying they did not earn enough money, concerns about raising a big enough deposit and a lack of job security.
Separate figures released this week by Rightmove show the average asking price on a home across England and Wales has passed the £300,000 milestone for the first time.
Meanwhile, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has said the average UK property value reached a new record high of £292,000 in January.
The ONS figures show a first-time buyer faces paying 7.7% more for a property than a year earlier, with the average price paid for a starter home standing at £222,000 in January 2016.
More than 2,000 people took part in the research for Yorkshire Building Society, of which around half did not own their own home.
A Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) spokesman said: "Our latest survey shows that a decade-long decline in home ownership has now been halted.
"Our initiatives like Help to Buy have helped nearly 270,000 people to buy a home of their own since 2010 and we are delivering 200,000 new starter homes, which will offer a 20% discount to first-time buyers."