Nearly a third of current homeowners also predicted house price increases during 2012 according to the research.
Some 8% of Britons said they were more likely to buy a home this year.
Raising a deposit was the biggest barrier for those who felt they couldn’t purchase.
The news comes as the Council of Mortgage Lenders reported slightly more positive data for the industry with a 4% rise in mortgage completions in November compared to October.
Younger people were the most ambitious with their prospects of home owning with 12% of those aged 18-34 saying they were likely to purchase a new home. This is compared to 7% of 35-54 year-olds and 5% of those aged 55 or over.
Overall 53% of those planning to buy a home were more positive about their prospects of being able to do so than a year ago, compared to only 15% who were more negative.
By region Londoners were the most confident about their chances of purchasing a home this year, with 13% believing it is likely they will do so.
At the other end of the scale only 4% of those in the East of England think they are likely to buy a new property in 2012.
Of those who were likely to buy a new home this year, 24% would be first-time buyers while 37% intended to buy a new house and sell their current one.
A further 15% plan to buy-to-let and 11% would be buying an additional property to one or more they already own.
Just over a fifth of people, 22% of those who felt they were unlikely to buy a new home this year, said their most significant obstacle was not having enough money for a deposit.
Phil Cliff, director of Santander Mortgages, said: “Given the tough economic climate people are becoming more upbeat about their prospects of purchasing a new home this year.
“It’s been a tough few years for the property market overall, but prices have made a steady recovery so there’s every reason to feel cautiously optimistic.
“There are however still a number of obstacles out there facing potential buyers, including securing the required funds, which is why the need to look around for the best deals and get some sound advice in terms of properties and mortgages is now greater than ever.”