Trulia’s Winter 2013 Rent vs. Buy Report looked at homes for sale and for rent on Trulia between Dec. 1, 2012, and Feb. 28, 2013, and compared the costs, factoring in transaction costs, taxes and opportunity costs. For home-ownership costs, study authors assumed a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage, 20 percent down, itemizing tax deductions at the 25% bracket and a stay of seven years in the home.
Overall, buying a home is 44 percent cheaper than renting nationwide – down just slightly from 46 percent in 2012. In each of the 100 largest metros, buying is more affordable than renting, though it ranges significantly – from 70 percent cheaper to buy than rent in Detroit to only 19 percent cheaper in San Francisco.
In the 10 Florida markets checked by Trulia, savings ranged from 40 percent to 60 percent. The include:
- Miami: 43% cheaper to buy
- Fort Lauderdale: 53% cheaper to buy
- West Palm Beach: 56% cheaper to buy
- Cape Coral-Fort Myers: 45% cheaper to buy
- North Port-Bradenton-Sarasota: 51% cheaper to buy
- Lakeland-Winter Haven: 55% cheaper to buy
- Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville: 50% cheaper to buy
- Orlando: 51% cheaper to buy
- Tampa-St. Petersburg: 55% cheaper to buy
- Jacksonville: 54% cheaper to buy
Individual own-versus-rent savings will vary depending on details, but Trulia posed an adjustable map on its website.
Visitors can change the map to suit their circumstance by choosing the mortgage rate they expect to pay (3.5%, 4.5% or 5.5%), their IRS tax bracket (none, 15%, 25%, 35%) and the length of time they expect to be in the house. The map then changes its buy-versus-rent estimates based on input.
For example, changing a Miami buy-versus-rent decision to a three-year stay, 15 percent tax bracket and 5.5 percent mortgage interest rate makes it wiser to rent for a 1 percent savings.
“People who didn’t buy a home last year may have missed the bottom of the market, but they haven’t completely missed the boat,” says Jed Kolko, Trulia’s chief economist. “Buying remains cheaper than renting in all 100 large metros. Even buyers who can’t get today’s lowest mortgage rates will still find that buying makes more financial sense than renting in nearly all local markets – so long as they can get a mortgage in the first place.”
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