Just 12% of UK adults believe access to mortgages has improved in the past five years, despite recent moves to open up the market.
This compares to 29% last year, according to new findings from specialist lender Precise Mortgages, part of the 2015 Mortgage Voice report in conjunction with YouGov.
Despite this negative sentiment, the report showed some improvement in the challenges that homeowners face.
UK renters say that saving to buy an affordable property and getting a mortgage approved are less of a barrier to owning their own home last year.
However, 49% of UK adults believe that mortgage rates only favour those with large deposits and 36% feel that mortgages are too difficult to obtain for first-time buyers.
With the average cost of a property now upward of £200,000 and house price inflation on course to hit 6% this year, affordability is likely to remain a challenge for first-time buyers.
Just 14% of renters aged 45-54 plan to buy a property in the next five years, with 67% having no aspirations to be a homeowner.
Alan Cleary, managing director of Precise Mortgages, said: “Prospective homebuyers are feeling more positive about their ability to save and find an affordable property, but with consumer sentiment towards mortgage accessibility falling in the last year, the industry has a vital job to do in reassuring prospective homeowners.
“The mortgage industry should serve prospective homebuyers, and we must dispel the belief that lenders continue to favour large deposits and are unforgiving of those with blemishes on their credit record.
“There are specialist lenders in the market ideally placed to help navigate the obstacles potential homebuyers face, but there is still more to be done across the wider industry.”