First time buyers in Northern Ireland now take three months longer to save for a house deposit than the first quarter of 2004, says new research.
House prices had increased by 14% in the same period
Those purchasing their first property are on average waiting nine months longer to save a deposit than in 1994.
National Savings and Investments (NS&I) said the time it takes to save a 5% deposit on a typical first home had increased to three years three months.
However, buyers in Northern Ireland save for the shortest amount of time.
NS&I said Northern Ireland was unique in the UK as the incomes of first time buyers had actually increased at a higher rate than house prices during this year.
First time buyer incomes were now 18% higher than in the first quarter of 2004.
House prices had increased by 14% in the same period, said the organisation.
'Offer some comfort'
Dax Harkins of National Savings and Investments, said, "The deposit for the average first time property in Northern Ireland is now over £4,100, but first time buyers can reduce the long-term cost of buying a home by starting to save earlier and putting as much as they can towards a deposit."
UK-wide, the increase in house prices in 2004 continued to hinder the first time buyer saving for a deposit, he said.
"Despite improved returns on savings since quarter one, moving into their first home is now an even more distant dream for many than it was at the beginning of this year.
"The evidence that, in Northern Ireland as well as some other parts of the country, the length of time it takes first time buyers to save for a deposit has stabilised will offer some comfort to those aspiring to get on the first rung of the property ladder.
"We will watch the trends over the coming months with great interest."