Should Millenials Rent or Buy?

Buying a home is 23% cheaper than renting nationwide for millennials and now is the best time to buy since 2012 when interest rates were a tad lower.

Trulia’s Rent vs. Buy Report has traditionally assumed a 30-year fixed rate mortgage with a 20% down payment for households moving every seven years. With these assumptions, buying is 36% cheaper than renting on a national basis, based on September home prices. That’s the best differential since 2012 when it was 38% cheaper to buy than rent. Buying is also cheaper than renting in each of the nation’s 100 largest metros.

However, using the Census’ 2014 American Community Survey and a new Trulia consumer poll, we’ve found that the math is different for young households (ages 25-34), who tend to move every five years (*) and can only afford up to a 10% down payment (**). This edition of Rent vs. Buy crunches the numbers for these prospective home buyers.

To compare the costs of owning and renting for young home buyers, we also assumed a 3.85% mortgage rate on a 30-year fixed-rate loan, itemized federal tax deductions and a 25% tax bracket. With those assumptions, buying is not only 23% cheaper than renting nationally, it is also only cheaper than renting in 98 of the nation’s top 100 markets.

Buying a home

But personal choices aside, here are the current economic conditions that influence today’s market. Nationally, home price growth has outpaced rent growth since 2012. That favors the rent side of the buy vs. rent equation. However, interest rates have returned to near historic lows, now at about 3.85%, after climbing to 4% or higher in 2013 and 2014. In October 2012, rates were about 3.4% for a 30-year-fixed rate mortgage. In that year, young households found that it was 28% cheaper to buy than rent.
Southern, Midwestern Housing Markets Great for Young Buyers
Buying is clearly a better deal in many Southern markets. Metros in Texas, Florida and Louisiana dominate the top ten list of places where young households will find buying an easier call. In No. 1 Houston, for instance, it is 46% cheaper for younger buyers to buy than rent.
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By:Ralph McLaughlin
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