Home buyers who were renting immediately prior to their recent home purchase accounted for 38 percent of sales in February 2016 (40 percent in January 2016; 38 percent in February 2015), according to the February 2016 REALTORS® Confidence Index Survey Report.
Renters are facing challenges transitioning into homeownership. According to NAR’s March 2016 Housing Opportunities and Market Experience (HOME) Survey of U.S. households, 63 percent of respondents who currently do not own a home believe it would be difficult to qualify for a mortgage given their current financial situation. Steep house price increases amid modest income gains have increasingly made homes less affordable, especially for first-time homebuyers (Chart 2). Access to credit remains tight compared to conditions prior to 2008, although conditions are slowly easing, using FICO scores as one indicator (see Chart 3).