Manhattan, New York and Santa Barbara, California are among the most expensive places to buy a home, but the best places to rent, while Baltimore, Maryland and Clayton County, Georgia, are the best counties to buy a home according to Realtor.com on Monday. To assist prospective homebuyers determine if renting an apartment or buying a home is the better option, Realtor.com used 2017 median prices and incomes in 500 counties. The research was geared for urban and suburban dwellers—as an average monthly house payment and rent may be close to the same figure with both continuing to rise.
The report, listed several financial indicators to compile a list of home prices versus monthly rent in various U.S. counties: annual median rent, median house payment, mortgage, taxes, and insurance, along with median income. However, it did not factor in the costs of down payments or annual maintenance, as well as home appreciation, which can increase the value of a home over the years.
The report indicated that if money were the only factor, the top county to rent and not buy a home is New York, New York, specifically Manhattan, where the rent may be $1,915 but home prices are approximately $2.2 million. Coming in second is Santa Barbara, California, where rent is $1,958 and homes cost approximately under $1 million.
Other communities that made it to the top five rent don’t buy list included: Kings County, New York (Brooklyn); Monterrey County, California; and Suffolk County, Massachusetts (Boston).
“Homeownership is the opportunity to build wealth. It also helps people be more stable. If there's a recession and you lose your job for a year, then people can take out a home equity loan and get through the hard times,” said Joseph Kirchner, Senior Economist at Realtor.com.
According to the report, the best areas to buy a home instead of rent were in Baltimore County, Maryland, where median rent is $1,443 compared to homes available for $257,000. With a median rent of $1,185 and a median home sale price of $130,000, Clayton County, Georgia (just outside Atlanta) came in second on the buy don’t rent list. Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania; Cumberland County, New Jersey; and Wayne County, Michigan (Detroit) rounded off this list.