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Buy Vs. Rent: U.S. Evenly Divided but Buy Is Better in Fla.


ATTOM: In 47% of U.S. markets, it’s better to rent than buy – but buying is better in most Fla. high-population counties, including Miami-Dade, Broward and Hillsborough.

IRVINE, Calif. – Jan. 9, 2020 – ATTOM Data Solutions’ 2020 Rental Affordability Report finds a fairly even split nationally on whether it’s better to buy or rent a median-priced, three-bedroom home. Of 855 counties analyzed, buying is more affordable than renting in 455 (53%)

In Florida’s largest counties, however, buying a home continues to be a better option. The report includes Miami-Dade, Broward and Hillsborough counties in its list of “counties with a population of at least one million where buying a home is more affordable than renting.”

Overall, ATTOM’s analysis found a split between different-sized markets, with ownership more affordable mainly in lightly populated counties and renting more affordable in more populous suburban or urban areas.

“Homeownership is a better deal than renting for the average wage earner in a slim majority of U.S. housing markets. However, there are distinct differences between different places, depending on the size and location from core metro areas,” says Todd Teta, chief product officer with ATTOM Data Solutions. He calls the cost of housing a “financial stretch … for individual wage earners throughout most of the country … But with interest rates falling, owning a home can still be the more affordable option, even as prices keep rising.”

Other study insights

  • Renting is more affordable than buying a home in 94 (69%) of the 136 counties in the report that have a population of at least 500,000 or more
  • Renting is the more affordable option in 36 of the 43 counties with a population of at least 1 million or more (84%)
  • Counties with a population of at least one million where it’s more affordable to buy include Miami-Dade County; Broward County; Wayne County, Mich. (Detroit); Philadelphia County, Pa.; Hillsborough County; Cuyahoga County (Cleveland), Ohio and Allegheny County, Pa. (Pittsburgh)
  • Renting a three-bedroom property requires an average 37.6% of weekly wages across the 855 counties analyzed
  • The least affordable markets for renting are largely in California, Hawaii and Colorado
  • The most affordable rental markets are in Tennessee, New York, Alabama and Ohio
  • Median home prices rose faster than average fair-market rents in 575 of the 855 counties analyzed in the report (67.3%)
  • Average rents rose faster than median prices in 280 counties (32.7%)
  • Median home prices rose faster than average weekly wages in 567 of the 855 counties analyzed in the report (66.3%), including Miami-Dade County
  • Wages rose faster than average fair market rents in 484 counties (56.6%)
  • Average rents rose faster than average wages in 371 (43.4%)

© 2020 Florida Realtors®

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