The great “should I rent or should I buy?” debate will never cease — and some recent research is sure to keep fanning the flames.
In just over half of the country’s largest metro areas, buying is actually cheaper than renting, according to Urban Institute, an economic policy think tank. They based their analysis on the “rent gap,” or the difference between mortgage payments and rent for someone making the median income in that city — assuming a 3.5% down payment on a median-priced home.
Ranked in order, here’s where it’s cheaper to buy than rent:
5. Tampa-St. Petersburg, Florida
9. Orlando, Florida
11. San Antonio
12. New York
14. Kansas City, Missouri
15. Columbus, Ohio
Of course, the total cost of homeownership is more than just a mortgage. Buying an older house? Renovation costs may be involved. Live in a hot market? A 3.5% down payment isn’t likely to cut it.
Remember also that your finances need to be in order first: A not-so-hot credit score means you’re more likely to be stuck with a higher interest rate, and less than 20% down means you’ll have private mortgage insurance tacked onto your monthly bill. Plus, we didn’t say buying in these markets would be cheap — only that you may be getting more bang for your housing buck if you can actually afford to buy.
Still not sure whether renting or buying is for you? Here are eight times when it makes more sense to rent than jump into homeownership.