Buying more affordable than renting in most of nation … barely


A recent report shows that buying may be cheaper than renting in many counties across the U.S. Locally, renting is still more affordable than buying.

ATTOM Data Solutions, a national property database curator, recently released a report detailing housing affordability in 447 counties across the country. It is more affordable to buy a home in fifty-four percent of those counties than to rent.

However, 64 percent of the U.S. population still life in markets that are more affordable to rent than to buy, said Daren Blomquist, vice president of ATTOM Data Solutions.

The report looked at counties with populations of 1 million or more, and incorporated recent fair market rent data for 2018 from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, along with wage data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The size of home focused on was a three-bedroom dwelling.

Los Angeles County, Cook County (Chicago, Ill.), Harris County (Houston, Texas), Maricopa County (Phoenix, Ariz.) and San Diego County were among the more populated counties in the country where renting was more affordable than buying. San Francisco and San Jose were also more affordable to rent.

“Although buying is still more affordable than renting in the majority of U.S. housing markets, that majority is shrinking as home price appreciation continues to outpace rental growth in most areas,” Blomquist said.

Merced County is cheaper to rent a three-bedroom dwelling, where the average rent runs $1,217 per month, and 35.6 percent of wages goes toward that cost.

In San Joaquin County, 40.8 percent of wages go toward rent, where it’s cheaper to do so. Average rental costs per month are $1,524.

Stanislaus County is the most expensive among the three local counties, where average rent is $1,562. It’s still cheaper to rent, and 41.9 percent of wages go toward doing so.

Marin County was found to be the least affordable place to rent in California, where 79.5 percent of wages went toward paying rent. The average rental cost in that county for a three-bedroom dwelling is $4,404.


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