The Genworth Homebuyer Confidence Index dropped by 1.6 points from the September 2013 figure, with 49 per cent of respondents citing cost of living as the key driver of mortgage stress.
The proportion of those who thought the time was right to buy a home fell from 46 per cent in September 2013 to 42 per cent in March 2014.
“The high cost of living has remained the number one cause of mortgage stress for homeowners since September 2011,” said Genworth chief commercial officer Bridget Sakr.
“While 71 per cent of first home buyers consider the dream of home ownership to be realistic, this group continues to struggle to save for a deposit,” she said.
About 30 per cent of prospective first home buyers said it would take four years or longer to save a 20 per cent deposit, compared with 60 per cent of all respondents who thought it would take them at least four years to save a deposit.
“The struggle to enter the property market may also be exacerbated by any future dwelling price growth,” Ms Sakr said.
The index, based on a survey of over 2,000 consumers, looks at how they are servicing their debts, their repayment history and their expectations for the next 12 months.