LOS ANGELES, June 8, 2016 -- Current renters in California value home ownership and want to buy a home, but many are encountering affordability and financial obstacles that prevent them from buying, according to the CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®' (C.A.R.) "2016 Renter Survey."

Nearly half of renters (48%) plan to buy a home in the future, with 10% saying that they plan to buy within a year. For those not planning to buy, an improvement in finances, lower housing prices, and saving enough for a down payment would motivate them to buy now.

Of the 28% of renters who don't plan to buy in the future, 50% said they can't afford to buy, 20 percent will not buy because they prefer to rent, 19% said they can't qualify for a mortgage, and 15% lack a down payment. Job uncertainty (9%), economic uncertainty (12%), and housing market uncertainty (6%) were among other reasons renters cited for not buying a home.

Home ownership remains important to renters, with nearly half (45%) rating it 8 or higher in importance on a scale of 1-10, with 10 being extremely important. The average was 6.8. Nearly all renters (95%) see advantages to home ownership; freedom to do what you want with your home, building equity, and having permanence and stability were the top benefits mentioned by renters.

One of the surprising findings of this survey is that more than one in four millennial renters said they plan to purchase a home that will accommodate their parents, and about one in five millennials indicated they plan to pool funds with family members to buy a home.

Primarily reflecting cultural values, Hispanic renters were more likely to buy a home that will accommodate their parents and/or adult children than any other ethnic group, with 46% indicating so, compared with 35% of blacks, 32% of Asians, and 29% of whites. Hispanics and Asians place a strong value on family, and tend to live with multi-generations under one roof more than other ethnic groups.

Other key findings from the survey:

  • 46% of renters claimed they currently rent because they can't afford to buy, and 13% said they have poor credit and can't qualify for a loan. The remaining renters choose to rent because they like the flexibility, freedom and ease of renting, are concerned about the maintenance costs of owning a home, or are not interested or aren't ready to buy.
  • Nearly four in 10 renters (39%) indicated they plan to purchase a home in the same county where they currently reside, and 23% plan to buy in the same neighborhood.
  • 15% of renters plan to buy a home out of their current area, with 7% planning to move to another state, 7% to another county in California, and 1% to another country.
  • Of the renters who are planning to leave the area where they currently reside, 27% are moving to find lower housing prices, 24% are moving for a better neighborhood, 14% want to be closer to family, 9% want a shorter commute, and 7% are moving for a better school district.
  • Two in three renters have made some kind of preparation to buy a home: 25% have searched for homes, 16% have searched online for information about the home buying process, and 12% have spoken to a REALTOR®.
  • Thirty-one percent of renters previously owned a primary residence, and 9% currently own real estate. Of those who previously owned a home, the reasons for selling included family reasons (37%), financial difficulties (28%), and work (13%).

The survey was conducted online to 1,000 renters statewide in March 2016, with a sample error rate of 3.1% at a 95% confidence interval. Sample weighted by ethnicity and age/generations according to 2014 U.S. Census Bureau data.