Renters say they can't buy a home due to the pricey down payment, according to the first Zillow® Housing Aspirations Report (ZHAR).

Almost 70% of renters surveyed cite the down payment as a greater barrier to home ownership than debt, job security and qualifying for a mortgage. More than half of renters cite qualifying for a mortgage as a barrier to home ownership, and half say debt is holding them back. Almost 40% of renters say job security is keeping them from buying a home.

The report, a semi-annual survey sponsored by Zillow and conducted by IPSOS, asks 10,000 renters and home owners in 20 metros across the country about their views on home ownership and their personal housing expectations going forward.

Among key findings:

  • More than half (63%) of renters are confident that they will be able to afford a home someday, with 25% planning on buying in the next three to five years.
  • Millennial renters are more confident than any other generation that they will be able to afford a home someday, with 34% planning on buying in three to five years. Almost a quarter (22%) said they plan to buy in one to two years and 2% of millennial renters said they never plan on buying a home.
  • The majority of respondents (66%) believe owning a home is necessary to live The American Dream, and 72% believe owning a home increases your standing in the local community -- millennials believe these two statements more than any other generation.

With home values across the country at their highest point since June 2007, cobbling together a 20-percent down payment on a home costs more than two-thirds of the U.S. median household annual income. In pricier markets like San Jose and Los Angeles, buyers must come up with more than 180 percent of the median annual income, making a home purchase out of reach for many aspiring homeowners.

"With home values close to record highs, it's no surprise renters are concerned about coming up with enough money to buy a home," said Zillow Chief Economist Dr. Svenja Gudell. "Rising rents are also a factor -- it's extremely difficult to save when you're paying record-high rents. While it is possible to put down as little as 3% on a home, the trade-off is a higher interest rate and costly private mortgage insurance, a financial trade-off that may make sense for some buyers. But with interest rates rising in 2017, it's important to remember that a lower interest rate can save buyers thousands of dollars over the life of their loan. For those trying to save for a down payment, it's important to set realistic goals and realize it may take a few years."

San Jose, San Diego and Los Angeles had the greatest share of renters say affording the down payment is the number one barrier to owning, at over 72%. Women (72%) were more likely than men (62%) to select the down payment as the top barrier to home ownership.

One-third of buyers used more than one source of funds for their down payment, including gifts and loans from family, according to the report. More than half of buyers saved by setting aside a little money at a time.