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    Rent vs. buy: A comparison of housing costs in U.S. cities

    By Jaclyn DeJohn,

    2024-05-21

    https://img.particlenews.com/image.php?url=3eLPlx_0tGLooon00
    Jacob Boomsma // Shutterstock

    Rent vs. buy: A comparison of housing costs in U.S. cities

    Many factors can go into home and mortgage prices as well as rental costs in a city, sometimes driving the two on divergent paths. These may include interest rates, housing inventories, family makeups and demographics, zoning and other legal ordinances, among others. As a result, homeowners in some areas could have an advantage, while renters may hold the upper hand cost-wise in other areas.

    To help residents understand how their housing budget may be affected, SmartAsset evaluated the difference in monthly costs between owning a home and renting in 343 cities.

    Key Findings

    • Owning costs up to $2,000 or more per month in the Bay Area compared to renting. Berkeley, San Francisco and some surrounding cities cost $4,000 or more per month to own. These are some of the biggest discrepancies, with homeowners often paying twice as much as renters. Rent averages $2,009 per month in Berkeley and $2,308 in San Francisco.
    • Renters pay more than homeowners in these Arizona and Florida cities. In Surprise, AZ, homeowners pay $368 less per month than renters. In San Tan Valley, they pay $277 less, and $146 less in Gilbert. Florida cities where rent is more expensive than owning a home include Lehigh Acres (-$167), Brandon (-$155) and Cape Coral (-$107).
    • Homeowners in Elizabeth, NJ pay more than twice as much as renters . The median rent in Elizabeth was $1,391 per month, compared to $2,896 homeownership payments. This is a $1,505 difference, or 2.1 times as high as monthly homeownership costs versus rent payments. The median estimated home value in the city was $450,800.
    • Median rent was under $900 in these midwestern cities. Green Bay, WI had the lowest median rent at $798. Other midwestern cities that had rent lower than $900 include Dayton, OH ($824); Cedar Rapids, IA ($835); Toledo, OH ($846); Springfield, IL ($849); and Fargo, ND ($872).
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    SmartAsset

    Top 10 Cities Where Homeowners Pay More Than Renters

    1. Berkeley, California
      • Median monthly gross rent: $2,009
      • Median monthly housing costs for homeowners: $4,000+
      • Difference between median costs for homeowners versus renters: $1,991
      • Estimated median value of owner-occupied homes: $1,445,100
    2. San Francisco, California
      • Median monthly gross rent: $2,308
      • Median monthly housing costs for homeowners: $4,000+
      • Difference between median costs for homeowners versus renters: $1,692
      • Estimated median value of owner-occupied homes: $1,343,700
    3. Oakland, California
      • Median monthly gross rent: $1,838
      • Median monthly housing costs for homeowners: $3,395
      • Difference between median costs for homeowners versus renters: $1,557
      • Estimated median value of owner-occupied homes: $913,600
    4. Elizabeth, New Jersey
      • Median monthly gross rent: $1,391
      • Median monthly housing costs for homeowners: $2,896
      • Difference between median costs for homeowners versus renters: $1,505
      • Estimated median value of owner-occupied homes: $450,800
    5. Glendale, California
      • Median monthly gross rent: $2,009
      • Median monthly housing costs for homeowners: $3,512
      • Difference between median costs for homeowners versus renters: $1,503
      • Estimated median value of owner-occupied homes: $1,036,800
    6. Pasadena, California
      • Median monthly gross rent: $1,985
      • Median monthly housing costs for homeowners: $3,457
      • Difference between median costs for homeowners versus renters: $1,472
      • Estimated median value of owner-occupied homes: $1,137,500
    7. Los Angeles, California
      • Median monthly gross rent: $1,788
      • Median monthly housing costs for homeowners: $3,239
      • Difference between median costs for homeowners versus renters: $1,451
      • Estimated median value of owner-occupied homes: $903,700
    8. Sandy Springs, Georgia
      • Median monthly gross rent: $1,713
      • Median monthly housing costs for homeowners: $3,132
      • Difference between median costs for homeowners versus renters: $1,419
      • Estimated median value of owner-occupied homes: $649,500
    9. Seattle, Washington
      • Median monthly gross rent: $1,877
      • Median monthly housing costs for homeowners: $3,250
      • Difference between median costs for homeowners versus renters: $1,373
      • Estimated median value of owner-occupied homes: $924,200
    10. New York, New York
      • Median monthly gross rent: $1,688
      • Median monthly housing costs for homeowners: $2,991
      • Difference between median costs for homeowners versus renters: $1,303
      • Estimated median value of owner-occupied homes: $724,400

    Top 10 Cities Where Renters Pay More Than Homeowners

    1. Surprise, Arizona
      • Median monthly gross rent: $2,064
      • Median monthly housing costs for homeowners: $1,696
      • Difference between median costs for homeowners versus renters: -$368
      • Estimated median value of owner-occupied homes: $455,200
    2. San Tan Valley, Arizona
      • Median monthly gross rent: $1,843
      • Median monthly housing costs for homeowners: $1,566
      • Difference between median costs for homeowners versus renters: -$277
      • Estimated median value of owner-occupied homes: $439,700
    3. Lehigh Acres, Florida
      • Median monthly gross rent: $1,598
      • Median monthly housing costs for homeowners: $1,431
      • Difference between median costs for homeowners versus renters: -$167
      • Estimated median value of owner-occupied homes: $294,800
    4. Brandon, Florida
      • Median monthly gross rent: $1,718
      • Median monthly housing costs for homeowners: $1,563
      • Difference between median costs for homeowners versus renters: -$155
      • Estimated median value of owner-occupied homes: $325,500
    5. Gilbert, Arizona
      • Median monthly gross rent: $2,064
      • Median monthly housing costs for homeowners: $1,918
      • Difference between median costs for homeowners versus renters: -$146
      • Estimated median value of owner-occupied homes: $602,000
    6. Cape Coral, Florida
      • Median monthly gross rent: $1,801
      • Median monthly housing costs for homeowners: $1,694
      • Difference between median costs for homeowners versus renters: -$107
      • Estimated median value of owner-occupied homes: $379,600
    7. Peoria, Arizona
      • Median monthly gross rent: $1,860
      • Median monthly housing costs for homeowners: $1,785
      • Difference between median costs for homeowners versus renters: -$75
      • Estimated median value of owner-occupied homes: $493,400
    8. Meridian, Idaho
      • Median monthly gross rent: $1,789
      • Median monthly housing costs for homeowners: $1,739
      • Difference between median costs for homeowners versus renters: -$50
      • Estimated median value of owner-occupied homes: $571,100
    9. Spring Hill, Florida
      • Median monthly gross rent: $1,273
      • Median monthly housing costs for homeowners: $1,253
      • Difference between median costs for homeowners versus renters: -$20
      • Estimated median value of owner-occupied homes: $281,100
    10. Palm Bay, Florida
      • Median monthly gross rent: $1,438
      • Median monthly housing costs for homeowners: $1,420
      • Difference between median costs for homeowners versus renters: -$18
      • Estimated median value of owner-occupied homes: $283,300

    Data and Methodology

    To find the net difference in mortgage and rent costs, we compared the following variables from 343 cities with populations over 100,000 people for which data was available. All data comes from the U.S. Census Bureau's 2022 American Community Survey.

    • Mortgage cost: The median monthly housing costs for owner-occupied housing units with a mortgage. This includes the cost of mortgage, insurance, taxes, common utilities, and any applicable condominium and mobile home fees. For Berkeley and San Francisco, this data was $4,000+.
    • Rent cost: The gross median monthly rent for occupied units paying rent. This includes the cost of rent plus average utility and fuel costs.
    • Median home value data: Estimated median value or owner-occupied housing units.

    This story was produced by SmartAsset and reviewed and distributed by Stacker Media.

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