Barely one in three young Aucklanders believe they will ever own their own home, with many resigned to a lifetime of renting.
And while half of the city's 18- to 34-year-olds say they are actively pursuing the home ownership dream, nearly a third don't expect to purchase within the next decade and only a handful are willing to consider apartments.
New figures released exclusively to the Weekend Herald by the city's biggest real estate firm, Barfoot & Thompson, highlight the plight of "generation rent" and the mounting hurdles they face getting on the property ladder.
But as prices plateau and interest rates tumble to record lows, industry experts say there is still hope for those wanting to buy their first home.
Barfoot & Thompson surveyed 500 Aucklanders aged 18 to 34 who were yet to own property about whether that goal was achievable.
More than 90 per cent aspired to buy a house, but just 38 per cent believed this was realistic in Auckland, where the average value is now $925,000.
Nevertheless, around half of those surveyed said they were actively working towards the goal of home ownership, with around one in five aged 25 and over still living with their parents or delaying having children in order to save money towards a deposit.
Others were forgoing luxuries or working extra shifts in a bid to raise the 20 per cent nest egg required under Reserve Bank rules to secure a standard mortgage - about $114,000 deposit on an "affordable" $569,500 lower quartile priced Auckland house.
A significant number want to own their own home and are making a substantial effort towards that goal, even though they know it will be very tough to reach.
And while first-home buyers have repeatedly been warned the quarter-acre dream is no longer financially viable amid soaring demand for Auckland property and limited supply, the data shows many refuse to give up.
Around 70 per cent of would-be homeowners are still aiming for a standalone Auckland house, with just 9 per cent willing to consider an apartment.
Barfoot director Peter Thompson said the data provided an interesting glimpse into the future market and compelling questions about how the next generation of first-home buyers' needs could be met.
"A significant number want to own their own home and are making a substantial effort towards that goal, even though they know it will be very tough to reach."
Despite the challenges, young Aucklanders still had their hearts set on home ownership because of tangible benefits such as financial security, investment potential, having somewhere to raise a family, and a sense of long-term achievement.
That's an unfortunate statistic because it is going to be a reality that a lot of first-home buyers are going to have to consider apartments as a means to get into their first property. They just don't have a choice.
But the survey findings also highlighted significant concerns about the steep costs associated with buying in Auckland and scraping together huge deposits.
Loan Market mortgage broker Bruce Patten said raising the required deposit remained the biggest hurdle.
He was surprised just 9 per cent of respondents were willing to consider apartments, which for many Auckland house-hunters was now the only viable option.
"That's an unfortunate statistic because it is going to be a reality that a lot of first-home buyers are going to have to consider apartments as a means to get into their first property. They just don't have a choice."
His advice to aspiring home-owners was to join KiwiSaver and be willing to compromise in order to get on the ladder.
"You need to be prepared to look in areas that are not necessarily in your first-choice locations ... where you can get a foothold because it's about getting a start and getting into the market. Once you're in the market it's all relative."
Getting on the ladder
• 91 per cent of young Aucklanders want to own their own home but only 38 per cent consider this a realistic prospect.
• Despite challenges, nearly half are actively working towards the home ownership dream.
• One-in-five of those aged 25 and over and planning to buy are either living at home or delaying having children to save a deposit.
• Nearly a third don't expect to buy a house within the next decade.
• 70 per cent of young would-be Auckland homeowners want a standalone house and only 9 per cent would consider apartments.
• Top five actions of those working towards home ownership are saving for a deposit (77 per cent), reducing spend on luxury items (44 per cent), looking to buy in alternative locations (27 per cent), living with family (27 per cent) and working additional hours, shifts or jobs (24 per cent).
"As we live in Auckland, the current market is very expensive. In a word, daunting."
"I definitely want to buy a house in Auckland in a few years. I know it will be expensive but I love Auckland and want to live near my family."
"It's near impossible to buy without assistance."
"People just need to have realistic expectations about home ownership. It's a hard-earned privilege, not a right."
"It would be nice to have somewhere to call my own that I could have my family grow up in."
"I would rather put my money towards a home loan than rent. I also would enjoy the flexibility to make changes to my home without having to consult the landlord."
"A home is one of the most important purchases one could make. It would be my safe haven. I could call it my own. It would be a result of all my hard work over my lifetime."
"Growing up I witnessed my father work very hard to pay off his mortgage and fully own his own home. To this day I can still sense the pride he feels at owning his home."