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February 25, 2018

Where Owning Makes More Financial Sense

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Where Owning Makes More Financial Sense

As home prices and rental costs rise, more consumers are scrutinizing their best financial move: to buy or rent?

Realtor.com®’s research team analyzed annual median rental costs versus annual median costs of homeownership (including mortgage payments, taxes, and homeowners insurance) to find whether buying or renting made more financial sense in the nation’s 500 largest counties. Realtor.com® also factored in median incomes in each of the counties.

“Homeownership is the opportunity to build wealth. It also helps people be more stable,” says Joseph Kirchner, a realtor.com® senior economist. “If there’s a recession and you lose your job for a year, then people can take out a home equity loan and get through the hard times.” However, the entry costs of homeownership may prove a barrier to many. (Realtor.com®’s study did not factor in the costs of down payments or annual maintenance costs.)

The analysis found that some markets are better for buyers than renters. Those locales include:

1. Baltimore County, Md.

  • Median monthly rental cost: $1,443
  • Median monthly homeownership costs: $900
  • Median home sale price: $257,000

2. Clayton County, Ga.

  • Median monthly rental cost: $1,185
  • Median monthly homeownership costs: $660
  • Median home sale price: $130,000

3. Schuylkill County, Pa.

  • Median monthly rental cost: $847
  • Median monthly homeownership costs: $390
  • Median home sale price: $71,000

4. Cumberland County, N.J.

  • Median monthly rental cost: $1,271
  • Median monthly homeownership costs: $840
  • Median home sale price: $130,000

5. Wayne County, Mich.

  • Median monthly rental cost: $1,008
  • Median monthly homeownership costs: $630
  • Median home sale price: $86,000

Source: “Rent vs. Buy: 10 Cities Where You’ll Get the Most Bang for Your Buck,” realtor.com® (Feb. 5, 2018)