Buying is cheaper than renting in most U.S. cities

By Les Christie, August 16, 2011, CNN Money

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — Home prices have taken such a beating and demand for rental units has increased so much that it’s now cheaper to buy a two-bedroom home than to rent one in most major U.S. cities.
According to real estate web site Trulia, buying was cheaper than renting in 74% of the country’s 50 largest cities in July. In just 12% of the cities, including New York, Seattle and San Francisco, renting was cheaper. In the remaining 14% of cities, renting was less expensive but close to the cost of buying.
In addition to a continuing decline in home prices, rock-bottom interest rates have added a lot of weight to the buy side of the scale. The overnight average rate for a 30-year fixed was just 4.19% on Monday, according to Bankrate.com. A 15-year fixed averaged just 3.43%.
Add in the tax perks of home ownership and for those who can afford it (and who can actually qualify for a loan), it certainly is a buyer’s market.
“It’s a personal decision, of course. But if you have a steady job and you are planning to stay for seven years or more and have enough cash to put 20% down and enough left over for seven or eight months of expenses, you’re better off buying in most places,” said Daisy Kong, a spokeswoman for Trulia.

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