Renting vs. Buying in 2011

This year California housing market conditions make a strong and compelling case for homeownership. With prices still well below the historic highs of just a few years ago and attractive mortgage rates, qualified buyers have a unique opportunity to own their own home. As seen below, a rigorous analysis of renting versus buying hears this conclusion out. As shown in the following chart, the monthly housing costs (principle, interest, taxes, and insurance or PITI) associated with buying a median-priced home of $301,430 is $1,590 (Fourth Quarter 2010 median priced home in California).  This assumes the buyer is making a 20 percent downpayment and financing with a 30-year fixed rate mortgage at 4.62 percent. In comparison, the median rent on a three-bedroom two-bath apartment with renter’s insurance in California is $1,810. That means buying a home would save the homeowner $220 per month when compared to renting and the homeowner would save over $2,600 a year.

rent vs buy 2011 - graph

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In addition, existing tax laws allow homeowners to itemize and deduct the mortgage interest and property taxes from their taxable income. For example, compare the tax implications for two households both earning $63,430 a year, the minimum income required to purchase the statewide median-priced home of $301,430.* The household that purchases the home with a 20 percent downpayment and finances the mortgage at the current rate of 4.62 percent will receive a tax deduction of over $14,000 in the first year of ownership. The renter household will most likely utilize the IRS Standard deduction of $11,400, $2,600 less than their homeowner counterparts. The homebuyer reduces their total tax liability by $400 compared to the renter in the first year of ownership. Accounting for the out-of-pocket savings as well as the tax savings, the homebuyer saves over $3,000 in their first year of ownership.

rent vs buy 2011 - graph 2

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All information and graphs are from CAR.org.

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