New Strategist Press Editorial Director Cheryl Russell looks at the latest Housing Vacancy Survey from the Census Bureau, which shows that while the amount of owner-occupied houses nudged up over the last year, the number of renter-occupied homes skyrocketed.

From the third quarter of 2014 to the end of September 2015, owner-occupied homes went up just 123,000, while rented homes surged by more than 1.3 million, as the nation's homeownership rate fell 70 basis points, from 64.4% to 63.7%.

But how many of those rental households are checking local for-sale listings?

Clearly the number of renters is surging, which begs the question: how many of those renters are wannabe homeowners who could potentially energize the housing market? Shedding some light on that question is the Federal Reserve Survey of Household Economics and Decisionmaking, fielded in 2013 and 2014. The survey asked renters why they rent.

In 2013, 10 percent of renters identified themselves as wannabe homeowners, looking to buy a house. When the Feds surveyed the same respondents in 2014, one-third of the renters who wanted to buy had become homeowners. Among renters who had not expressed a desire to buy, only 3 percent had bought a home.

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