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Retirees Stuck in Buying vs. Renting Dilemma

home-in-your-handsShould retirees plan to buy a home or rent one once their working days are done? According to a newly released Rent vs. Buy Report from Trulia, that depends on the legacy they want to leave behind.

Though nationally, the report shows that buying is slightly cheaper than renting on the whole, that’s only if the retiree cares about leaving an inheritance for their loved ones upon death. If they don’t care about the home equity they leave behind, the report shows that renting a home is actually the more affordable option in 98 of the top 100 U.S. cities for retirees.

The reasoning? The Rent vs. Buy Report says that comes down to the benefits of both homeownership and renting. For homeowners, one of the biggest benefits is the equity value – how much they own of the house and how much they stand to earn when the property is sold.  If this value is left out, the report says, the advantages of buying no longer outweigh those of renting.

If home equity is of importance to the retiree, then buying is cheaper than renting in all major metropolitan areas by 41.8 percent. For all households – including those retiring and those not – buying is 34.8 percent cheaper than renting. Thanks to declining mortgage rates, that’s up from last year, when buying was 34.2 percent cheaper.

To little surprise, the report shows Florida as the best place to save on a retirement home purchase in the U.S.  Retirement communities showed the widest margins in buying versus renting for retirees. In fact, in The Villages, Florida buying a home is 71.6 percent more affordable than renting one. Other Florida cities with high margins were Naples, Venice, Delray Beach, Deerfield Beach, Marco Island, Pompano Beach, Englewood, Titusville, and Hallandale Beach.

But Florida wasn’t the only state to offer a buying-over-renting savings for retirees. Other top cities included: New Orleans and Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Tulsa, Oklahoma; Memphis, Tennessee; Birmingham, Alabama; Greenville and Charleston, South Carolina; and Atlanta, Georgia.

Trulia’s Rent vs. Buy Report is released biannually and assumes a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage with a 20-percent down payment for all calculations.

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About Author: Aly J. Yale

Aly J. Yale is a freelance writer and editor based in Fort Worth, Texas. She has worked for various newspapers, magazines, and publications across the nation, including The Dallas Morning News and Addison Magazine. She has also worked with both the Five Star Institute and REO Red Book, as well as various other mortgage industry clients on content strategy, blogging, marketing, and more.

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