“Home buying Could Soon Beat Renting” was the title of an article by John W. Schoen, Senior Producer of The Bottom Line on msnbc.com. The Bottom Line is known for breaking news and analysis of real estate and consumer issues.
John writes that “falling home prices have sent many would-be buyers to the sidelines. If all goes well, record low interest rates and rising rents may soon prompt some of them to take a second look at buying.” Historic, US Census Bureau, data on median monthly mortgage payments and median monhtly rent payments depicts how affordable home ownership has become.
Unfortunately, that’s a big “if,” according to Paul Diggle, HousingEeconomist at Capital Economics. Much of the decision to buy a house still depends on your personal finances and preferences, your career or family life, or level of financial security. But if you’re comparing just the cost of owning and renting, buying a house may soon be the better choice, according to Diggle.
Until recently, home ownership was no bargain compared to renting, according tothe analysis. A 33 percent drop fall in median home prices, a plunge in mortgage rates and 15 percent rise in rents since the housing crash has evened the scales. Today, the median monthly mortgage payment of about $700 has fallen to about the level of a median monthly rent check. If mortgage rates keep falling and rents keep rising, the equation will tip even further toward owning.
But that analysis doesn’t include the total cost of owning versus renting. A full accounting includes closing costs, maintenance, insurance and property taxes, tax savings from mortgage deductions, gains or losses from home equity, among other factors. Renters have to think about broker fees and future rent hikes. Both have to make assumptions about future trends in housing prices and rents.