Of the 5,000 adults surveyed the average renter saved £2,090 in the last year, meaning they would need 15 years to accumulate the average first-time buyer deposit of £30,943.
Private renters looking to buy in London face nearly double the wait, having to save for 27 years to achieve the average first-time buyer deposit of £56,183 for a home in the capital.
David Lascelles, savings expert at Scottish Widows, said: “While the Help to Buy scheme has no doubt cut down the amount of time you have to wait to buy your own home, and has provided support to over 22,475 households so far, many renters are still facing an uphill struggle to get a foot on the property ladder, or even just to put money aside for the future.
“Faced with high living costs, squirreling money away may sometimes seem unfeasible, but there are plenty of simple budgeting tools and tricks available from money advice centres and sites that can help renters get started.”
The research suggests that some may have given up on property ownership altogether, as only one in 10 private renters saved specifically to get on the housing ladder.
A third of private renters meanwhile do not put any money aside, while nearly three in 10 have no savings.
Those planning on using the government’s Help to Buy scheme this year have saved an average of £9,590 to put towards a deposit, which would take a more reasonable four and a half years to save for at current levels.