First-time buyers are an “endangered” species, according to research for the New Homes Marketing Board. Financial Times

The YouGov poll found 80% of the population was worried the next generation of aspirant homeowners might never afford their own home.

David Pretty, chairman of the NHMB, called for an all party consensus to tackle housing supply but acknowledged that “government has woken up to the problem”.

The government has set a new target of raising annual house building from 200,000 to 240,000 new homes by 2016. Last week Yvette Cooper, housing minister, also announced incentives, including a cash boost, to the local councils that built the most homes.

Pretty said the shortage of new homes was “a serious social problem” because people did not like the alternative of renting. Moreover, pressures on supply meant the cost of renting was also likely to soar. “There seems to be an assumption that renting will still somehow be affordable in the future . . . But an ongoing serious shortage of supply will simply drive up rents as it has driven up prices,” he said. “So the outlook for today’s youngsters, whether buying or renting, is much bleaker than for earlier generations.”