While many Australians would love to begin investing in property, a large percentage admit they’re not brave enough to take the risk in today’s uncertain economic climate, according to a new survey by Galaxy Research on behalf of State Custodians Home Loans.

The survey – which polled 1,005 people nationwide – found that 64% of Australians are interested in property investment. New South Wales has the largest number of potential investors (69%), followed by Victoria (65%), South Australia (64%), Queensland (63%), and Western Australia (61%).

However, with rapidly escalating prices in key areas, 65% of respondents are anxious about whether property investing is actually feasible. Thirty-five per cent feel it’s too hard to come up with enough money for a deposit, one-third say they’re worried about taking on too much debt, and 23% say it’s too expensive to find an appropriate investment property in the area they reside in.

“Is it understandable that people are nervous about investing in property at the moment considering growth in wages has not kept pace with rising dwelling prices and cost-of-living,” said Joanna Pretty, general manager at State Custodians Home Loans. “Many Australians [59 per cent of respondents] also believe foreign investor activity has been the main culprit for escalating house prices. People may be wanting to see if prices slow down.”

While 74% of Gen X respondents say they’d like to own an investment property, a major concern for over one-fifth [21%] of this group is the fear that it can be tricky to secure a loan.

Pretty said it’s understandable that people are frustrated, given that lenders have recently tightened their lending policies and hiked rates for investors. “This has been in response to regulator concerns about the risks associated with over-exposure to this sector of the market,” she said. “However, it is certainly still possible to obtain finance for investment properties from a number of lenders. People just need to make the effort to hunt around and compare deals.”

Meanwhile, the vast majority of millennials are already looking towards the future, with 81% saying they’d like to buy an investment property at some point. However, the main concern for this age bracket is the issue of bad credit.

Twenty-percent of millennials say they’re not sure if their credit rating will be good enough for a bank to give them an investment property.

“Young people need to be aware that if they have missed a credit card repayment, or [if] a late phone bill notification happens to make it onto their credit report, it’ll be there for five years,” Pretty said. “Some lenders will exercise some tolerance and ‘excuse’ such indiscretions within that five-year period, although you’re likely to be paying a higher interest rate.”