To conduct the study, Trulia says it started by looking at the homes for sale and rent on its own site between June 1 and Aug. 31, 2012. For comparisons, it assumed a 3.5 percent mortgage, itemized income tax deductions at the 25 percent federal tax bracket, and a seven-year time horizon before the home is sold. It factored in “all cost components,” including transaction costs, taxes and opportunity costs.
Overall, Trulia says, homeownership wins hands down right now. While the buy-versus-rent savings varied greatly among the cities, buying was the best choice in all 100 markets.
Trulia says it’s about more than percentage differences, however. Detroit ranked at the top, where buying can save 70 percent, and it overshadows San Francisco where a buyer only saves 28 percent. However, homes are more expensive in San Francisco, so the actual dollar savings of $899 near the Golden Gate Bridge could overshadow any percentage savings in Detroit.
One Florida metro area made the top five list for home buying affordability. According to Trulia, the monthly cost of homeownership in Lakeland-Winter Haven is $495, while the cost of renting is $1,276 – a 61 percent ($781) savings for those who choose to buy rather than rent.
“Homeownership is cheaper than renting in all of the 100 largest metros by a wide margin,” says Jed Kolko, Trulia’s chief economist. “Rents continue to rise faster than prices, and mortgage rates are near record lows.”
However, Kolko says many people can’t take advantage of homeownership’s historical affordability because “it takes years to save enough for a downpayment, and it takes a high credit score to even qualify for a mortgage, let alone to get the best rate.”
© 2012 Florida Realtors®