Renting Is Cheaper Than Buying, Almost Everywhere

According to a new study, renting costs less per month in the 50 largest metropolitan areas in the United States.

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Rent or buy? For those with a choice, there’s a lot to consider. Renting doesn’t tie you down, nor does it require a huge down payment. On the other hand, buying can be a profitable long-term investment with tax benefits. And let’s not underestimate the peace of mind that comes from knowing that your home won’t be pulled out from under you by a landlord.

The choice, however, is almost always about money, and in today’s hot seller’s market, a lack of available homes and skyrocketing prices have stymied many aspiring buyers. The flip side has been falling rents, especially in cities, where landlords struggle to fill record numbers of vacant apartments by offering rent cuts and concessions. Although rents show signs of recovering, it’s still a good time to sign a lease.

A recent study by LendingTree found that median housing costs were lower for renters than for homeowners with a mortgage in all 50 of the largest U.S. metro areas. The greatest difference between the median rent and the median cost of owning a home with a mortgage was in New York City, at $1,363 a month. San Francisco and San Jose, Calif., were next, with the gap between renting and owning exceeding $1,000.

To reach its conclusions, LendingTree compared median rents and mortgaged housing costs using data from the Census Bureau. This week’s chart shows the 10 metro areas with the largest and the smallest differences in housing costs for renters and owners.

Savings for Renters

Median housing costs are lower for renters than buyers with a mortgage in the 50 largest U.S. metro areas, according to a study by LendingTree. Below are the metro areas with the greatest and smallest cost differences between renting and buying.

Greatest Differences

MEDIAN

COST WITH A

MORTGAGE

MEDIAN

RENT

DIFFERENCE

New York

San Francisco

San Jose, Calif.

Los Angeles

Boston

Providence, R.I.

San Diego

Hartford, Conn.

Sacramento

Chicago

$1,439

$1,905

$2,249

$1,545

$1,475

$968

$1,658

$1,116

$1,290

$1,122

$2,802

$3,088

$3,347

$2,581

$2,427

$1,894

$2,578

$1,969

$2,063

$1,888

$1,363

$1,183

$1,098

$1,036

$952

$926

$920

$853

$773

$766

Smallest Differences

MEDIAN

COST WITH A

MORTGAGE

MEDIAN

RENT

DIFFERENCE

Memphis

Phoenix

Nashville

Atlanta

Las Vegas

Charlotte, N.C.

Jacksonville, Fla.

Indianapolis

Tampa, Fla.

Orlando, Fla.

$930

$1,124

$1,073

$1,156

$1,132

$1,030

$1,093

$916

$1,115

$1,210

$1,331

$1,514

$1,462

$1,544

$1,517

$1,398

$1,461

$1,280

$1,458

$1,508

$401

$390

$389

$388

$385

$368

$368

$364

$343

$298

Smallest Differences

Greatest Differences

MEDIAN

COST WITH A

MORTGAGE

MEDIAN

COST WITH A

MORTGAGE

MEDIAN

RENT

MEDIAN

RENT

DIFFERENCE

DIFFERENCE

New York

San Francisco

San Jose, Calif.

Los Angeles

Boston

Providence, R.I.

San Diego

Hartford, Conn.

Sacramento

Chicago

Memphis

Phoenix

Nashville

Atlanta

Las Vegas

Charlotte, N.C.

Jacksonville, Fla.

Indianapolis

Tampa, Fla.

Orlando, Fla.

$1,439

$1,905

$2,249

$1,545

$1,475

$968

$1,658

$1,116

$1,290

$1,122

$2,802

$3,088

$3,347

$2,581

$2,427

$1,894

$2,578

$1,969

$2,063

$1,888

$930

$1,124

$1,073

$1,156

$1,132

$1,030

$1,093

$916

$1,115

$1,210

$1,331

$1,514

$1,462

$1,544

$1,517

$1,398

$1,461

$1,280

$1,458

$1,508

$1,363

$1,183

$1,098

$1,036

$952

$926

$920

$853

$773

$766

$401

$390

$389

$388

$385

$368

$368

$364

$343

$298

Source: LendingTree

By The New York Times

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