The majority of so-called second steppers were unable to move up the property ladder last year, according to a report.
Three-fifths of first-time sellers (61%) wanted to move on to a second home in 2012 but could not because most of them were unable to afford the deposit.
Bank of Scotland's Second Steppers report said 18% believe it is harder to move up the ladder than it is to get on it in the first place, while around half (47%) said both are just as difficult.
Two-thirds (66%) say the level of deposit required is the main barrier for them in arranging a mortgage, citing this as a key reason for not being able to buy a new home.
Almost half have either lost some (36%) or all (11%) of the deposit they paid on their first property because of falling house prices, the report shows.
The average second stepper has had their home on the market for 13 months, Bank of Scotland said.
People expect to stay about 18 months longer in their first home than they did two years ago, with respondents saying they plan to spend about five-and-a-half years there, compared with four years in 2011.
The average deposit required by a second stepper last year was £37,057, four times more than in 2002 (£9,053), the report shows.
Around half (53%) of first-time sellers want to find a larger house, 38% want to move to a different area and 14% are relocating for work.
Laurence Mann, head of mortgages at Bank of Scotland, said: "To achieve a sustainable housing market in Scotland we need to see movement throughout the market. If second steppers get stuck on the first rung, movement at the bottom half of the ladder comes to a standstill, and this bottleneck will not only restrict the supply of starter properties but will have a knock-on effect across the whole of the housing market."