Whether it’s a challenging roommate, a long commute, or marriage (just to name a few reasons) at some point many of us decide to stop renting and take the plunge of purchasing a home. The housing market continues recovering from its 2008 crash and home prices are rising although they’re not quite back to normal. In fact, in June, the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index showed that average U.S. home prices are sitting around summer 2004 levels but remain almost 20 percent off the mid-2006 peak.
Depending on where you live, prices in your area still may not have topped out and the value of your new home could increase in the next couple of years.
Is it time to pull the trigger and buy? Maybe this map could help answer this question as it depends on where you live.
Baltimore Sits at the Top for Value
Maybe you live in Baltimore. Lucky you, as it is the most valuable U.S. market for home buyers. This comes with its rent versus buying differential: a net difference of $1,160 between the two. As rents average $1,599, an average monthly mortgage payment is only $439, when based on a median $85,000 home sales price.
But it’s not the cheapest place to purchase a home. Washington County, Miss. has this distinction with its average monthly mortgage of $217 and $42,000 median home sales price.
San Francisco is Unfriendly for Buyers
If you head across the country to San Francisco, you’ll find the most expensive real estate with its average home mortgage of $4,599 and median $890,500 home value.
Maybe you just want to rent in San Francisco. This will cost you as well. The Bay Area’s six counties, which include Alameda, Contra Costa, San Francisco, Santa Clara and San Mateo, all sit in the top 10 nationally for the highest rent. This averages at more than $2,400 per month.
Good to be a renter in New York
But the City by the Bay is not the only unfriendly city. Again, across to the other coast, New York City is the least friendly for buyers as it has a rent versus buying net difference of $2,729. This bodes well for renters as the city’s average rent is $1,852 per month. This compares to an unfavorable average mortgage of $4,581per month, according to RealtyTrac data. However, there’s more to the story.
Sure, there are high real estate prices in New York (this is always the case) but some buyers actually have the advantage in the city. When looking at the four neighboring boroughs, it’s a little better for Brooklyn and the Bronx residents to buy while Queens and Staten Island are better for renters.
Stay Away from Hawaii
While the San Francisco Bay area causes a lot of pause for real estate, it’s not the most expensive place in the U.S.to rent. Honolulu comes in at the top with its $2,862 average monthly rent.
Living among beauty has its price.
If you’re really looking for a bargain and perhaps a less desirable venue than Hawaii, you can pay $699 per monthly rent in Montgomery County, Ark.
Now that we’ve presented you with some options, don’t fret if you find yourself living in an area that is expensive to even rent. You’re not alone. According to RealtyTrac data, in 2013 one third of Americans lived in areas with an unaffordable average rent for median income earners.