SOURCE: Trulia


August 16, 2011 06:00 ET

Homeownership Beats Renting in 74 Percent of Major U.S. Cities

Trulia Releases Summer Rent vs. Buy Index, Revealing Housing Market Rebound in Miami and Continued Setbacks in Detroit, Fresno and Sacramento

SAN FRANCISCO, CA--(Marketwire - Aug 16, 2011) - Trulia today released its Summer 2011 Rent vs. Buy Index, which compares the cost of buying and renting a two-bedroom apartment, condominium or townhouse in America's 50 largest cities based on population.

Homeownership Affordability Remains High
Based on current market conditions, buying a home is cheaper than renting in 74 percent of major U.S. cities. Meanwhile, it is clearly better to rent in New York, Fort Worth, Omaha, Seattle, San Francisco and Kansas City. In between both sides of the rent versus buy spectrum, there is a grey area. Depending on personal circumstances, such as one's tax bracket, it may make more sense to buy a home in Oakland, Austin, San Jose, Memphis, Boston, Los Angeles and Portland, even though it is still relatively cheaper to rent.

Top Five Cities Where Buying Beats Renting
# City State Price:Rent Ratio
1 Las Vegas NV 6
2 Detroit MI 7
3 Mesa AZ 7
4 Fresno CA 7
5 Arlington TX 8
Top Five Cities Where Renting is Cheaper than Buying
# City State Price:Rent Ratio
1 New York NY 36
2 Fort Worth TX 32
3 Omaha NE 27
4 Seattle WA 24
5 San Francisco CA 24

NOTE: The price-to-rent ratio is the median listing price divided by the annualized median rent. Ratios that are 15 and under indicate buying is less expensive than renting, while ratios that are 20 or higher indicate renting is less expensive than buying.

Housing Market Rebounds and Setbacks in Foreclosure Hotspots
Buying a home in cities flooded with foreclosures continues to be considerably cheaper than renting, but this may be poised to change in the coming months. In Miami, for example, it is still less expensive to buy, but a mini-buying boom created by foreign investors and foreclosure freezes have caused its price-to-rent ratio to jump by 112 percent from 6 in January to 13 in July. Meanwhile, recent job gains in the auto industry have not countered Detroit's falling home prices. For now, the city has experienced a setback since January with its price-to-rent ratio dipping 39 percent. Las Vegas, on the other hand, continues to be the best place to buy instead of rent for the past six months.

# City State Price:Rent Ratio
July 2011
Price:Rent Ratio
January 2011
% Change
1 Miami FL 13 6 112%
2 Phoenix AZ 8 8 1%
3 Las Vegas NV 6 6 -7%
4 Tucson AZ 13 14 -10%
5 Mesa AZ 7 8 -11%
6 Sacramento CA 8 13 -17%
7 Fresno CA 7 11 -32%
8 Detroit MI 7 12 -39%


  • "While recent stock market volatility on top of the slow economic recovery makes homebuyers nervous, it has not destroyed the American dream of homeownership. However, prospective homebuyers, who are ready and qualified to buy, face an uphill battle despite falling home prices and record-low mortgage rates," said Ken Shuman, Head of Communications at Trulia. "Today, many banks are actually less enthusiastic about approving residential mortgage applications, which has dragged out the home buying process. Until a middle ground on lending practices can be met, many highly-qualified buyers may be forced to be renters by choice for now."

  • "Many aspiring homeowners are on the fence about renting and buying in today's market. Should they take advantage of falling home prices and low borrowing costs, or should they continue to rent until the economy stabilizes?" said Ken Shuman, Head of Communications at Trulia. "Price alone should never be the sole factor in deciding to purchase a home. Instead, buyers should first ask themselves if they plan to live in the home for at least seven-to-10 years, could make monthly payments on the house, and have enough cash in the bank for a down payment and an additional six to eight months worth of mortgage payments. If you can answer 'yes' to each of these questions, then the cost of buying a home definitely outweighs renting in most cities."


  • To view a new interactive data visual illustrating how the cost of renting versus buying has changed over the last six months, click here.
  • To view a slideshow of the findings, click here.
  • To view a full list of Rent vs. Buy Index rankings for the 50 largest U.S. cities, click here.
  • To check out Trulia's current and archived industry reports and consumer surveys, click here.

Trulia calculated the price-to-rent ratios for the 50 largest U.S. cities using the median list price compared with the median rent on two-bedroom apartments, condominiums and townhomes listed on as of July 1, 2011. To view the complete methodology including sample price-to-rent ratio calculation, interpretation key for the ratio and definitions, click here.

Trulia is the fastest growing online real estate resource, empowering buyers, sellers and renters with smarter tools to help them find the right home. Trulia gives you the inside scoop to help you find the best place to live. Our smart and personalized real estate search experience brings together vital local information, community insights, market data and national listings all in one place. Trulia is headquartered in downtown San Francisco and is backed by Accel Partners and Sequoia Capital.

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