Buy v. Rent/Good Time to Buy?

Buy vs. Rent: An Update

Posted on Thursday, December 23, 2010


Below is an updated list of rent ratios — the price of a typical home divided by the annual cost of renting that home — for 55 metropolitan areas across the country.
We last covered this subject about eight months ago, and you’ll notice that most ratios have not changed much since then. A good rule of thumb is that you should often buy when the ratio is below 15 and rent when the ratio is above 20. If it’s between 15 and 20, lean toward renting — unless you find a home you really like and expect to stay there for many years.
Metro area Ratio
East Bay, Calif. 35.9
Honolulu 34.4
San Jose, Calif. 32.7
San Francisco 27.9
Seattle 27.3
Charlotte, N.C. 27
Orange County, Calif. 27
New York (Manhattan) 26.7
Raleigh, N.C. 26.2
Portland, Ore. 25.9
North – Central New Jersey 25.2
Nashville 24
Denver 22.6
San Diego 22.1
Long Island, N.Y. 21.4
Milwaukee 21.4
Austin, Tex. 20.5
Norfolk, Va. 19.9
Richmond 19.7
Memphis 19.3
Bridgeport, Conn. 18.5
Hartford 18.4
Boston 18.4
Washington – Northern Virginia – Maryland 18.3
Oklahoma City 18.2
Baltimore 17.6
Columbus, Ohio 17.6
Palm Beach County, Fla. 17.6
Salt Lake City 17.6
Sacramento 16.7
San Antonio 16.7
Chicago 16.6
New Orleans 16.2
Philadelphia 16.1
Houston 15.9
Fort Lauderdale, Fla. 15.7
Miami 15.6
New York 15.4
Los Angeles 15.4
Kansas City, Kan. 15.3
Inland Empire, Calif. 15.1
National average for metro areas 15.1
Indianapolis 15.1
Jacksonville, Fla. 15
Minneapolis 14.9
St. Louis 14.6
Las Vegas 14.3
Atlanta 14.3
Orlando, Fla. 14.1
Tampa, Fla. 14
Cincinnati 13.9
Dallas – Fort Worth 13.8
Phoenix 13.3
Detroit 12.4
Cleveland 11.7
Pittsburgh 11.4
It’s pretty amazing when you think about it. The country has suffered through a terrible crash in home prices, yet buying a house remains an iffy proposition in many markets.
The data comes from Mark Zandi of Moody’s Analytics and covers the second quarter of this year. Home prices haven’t changed very much since then, so I would expect ratios in most places to be quite close to the numbers you see here.
By DAVID LEONHARDT NYT


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