Renting cheaper than buying starter home in most metros

Business

(NewsNation) — A new report shows that despite surging rental prices, it’s still more affordable to rent than it is to buy a starter home in most major metropolitan areas.

Last month, in 38 of the 50 largest metros, it was cheaper to pay a landlord than a mortgage for a starter home, according to a recent realtor.com analysis. That’s a big change from just a few months ago.

The Federal Reserve’s recent interest rate increases have made the monthly cost to buy a first-time home about $416 more per month than it would have been last year.

Some of the cities where renting was more affordable were hot spots including San Francisco, Seattle, New York, Los Angeles and Austin, Texas. That’s despite June rental prices spiking 14.1% over the past year. 

The rising cost to find a home or an apartment will eventually start to slow down, experts say, they just can’t pinpoint exactly when.

“We are not as volatile, say, as the stock market. But we do have cycles, and we do follow those cycles,” said Bonnie Heatzig, executive director of luxury sales at Douglas Elliman.

Even apartment complex owners know a rental hike slowdown is overdue.

“I think rentals are a little bit high above what they should be,” said Steve Davis, CEO of Total Wealth Academy. “I’m loving it as an apartment owner. But I do recognize that I’m gonna stop raising rents here in a little while, and just let it sit for a couple of years so I don’t end up with a lot of vacancy.”

But if your goal is to buy a first home, it’s cheaper to do so in cities such as Pittsburgh, St. Louis, Cleveland, Baltimore or Indianapolis, according to the realtor.com report. For those looking to put down roots somewhere, it might be the better option.

“If you plan on staying in the area where you are and you can afford to buy,” Heatzig said, “I think it’s your best bet if you can find something that you like within your price point.”

There are still bargains to find in some of the bigger metros, but Davis said suburbs offer some of the better prices.

“Outside of the city is the best bang for your buck,” Davis said.

Whether it’s better in the current market to rent or buy all depends on your financial situation and where you want to live, experts said. But if you’re dead set on buying that dream home, it might take some patience.

“It’s quite a few cities where they’ve seen 20% drops in the average sale price. And I think we’ll continue to see that until it corrects to the real number,” Davis said. “But it’s going to take time — I would say two years minimum, and maybe even three.”

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