These deals are somewhat complicated to structure. In most situations, you the tenant will still need to put up a substantial amount of cash, which you will lose if you do not go through with the sale. This is really the only way I know to get an owner interested in working with you. Anna Brocco is absolutely right, most owners would much rather sell outright than mess around with a lease-option.
However--I think there might, might, be an opportunity for you in the current market. You need good credit scores and a secure job, as well as cash on hand and the confidence that you will be able to purchase down the road.
If that sounds like you, feel free to contact me via email with more information about your plans, as I could help you as a buyer's broker.
Karla Harby, VP
Charles Rutenberg Realty
New York City
Are you asking about new developments with an option to buy? South or North Slope? Or resale?
As Anna mentioned, most sellers want to sell or rent, and may not be open to rent to buy option. What some sellers tend to offer their tenants is the first option to purchase if they ever consider to sell. But in this case, the money you were paying for rent probably won't be put towards your downpayment/purchase.
Do you have something specific in mind?