Buying Beats Renting in all 100 Largest US Metro Areas

<a href="">Gingerbread house</a> image via Shutterstock.

Despite recent price increases in many markets, it’s now cheaper to own a home than rent in all 100 of the largest U.S. metro areas, thanks to climbing rents and low mortgage rates and tax breaks for homeowners, according to a rent-vs.-buy report released today by real estate search site Trulia.

Homeownership is most affordable in Detroit, the report found, where the monthly cost of owning a home ($349) was 70 percent cheaper than renting one ($1,149). Gary, Ind., and Oklahoma City, Okla., both with monthly homeownership costs that were 63 percent cheaper than renting, were No. 2 and No. 3 in the report, respectively, for U.S. homeownership affordability.






Downtown Detroit image via Shutterstock.

For its analysis, Trulia averaged the price of homes for sale and for rent on its site in each metro from June 1, 2012, to Aug. 31, 2012. For homeownership costs, the report took into account closing costs, maintenance, insurance, property taxes and other costs. The report assumed homes would be sold after seven years and that owners were in the 25 percent federal income tax bracket, itemized their deductions, and could obtain a mortgage at a rate of 3.5 percent. Renting cost calculations included renters insurance and deposit.

Top 10 metros with highest homeownership affordability

U.S. Metro Monthly cost of homeownership ($) Monthly cost of renting ($) Difference ($) Difference (%)
Detroit, Mich. $349 $1,149 -$800 -70%
Gary, Ind. $616 $1,649 -$1,033 -63%
Oklahoma City, Okla. $590 $1,576 -$987 -63%
Lakeland-Winter Haven, Fla. $495 $1,276 -$781 -61%
Toledo, Ohio $476 $1,222 -$746 -61%
Memphis, Tenn.-Miss.-Ark. $548 $1,389 -$841 -61%
Warren-Troy-Farmington Hills, Mich. $588 $1,494 -$907 -61%
Cleveland, Ohio $585 $1,464 -$879 -60%
West Palm Beach, Fla. $723 $1,764 -$1,041 -59%
Birmingham, Ala. $515 $1,247 -$732 -59%

Source: Trulia