Every month, Suzy Rodoni-Silverberg writes a column for the Good Times Santa Cruz, sharing important information about real estate and property management for those living, renting, and buying in the greater Santa Cruz Area. This month, Suzy explores the renting vs. buying topic. Do you have a real estate or property management question that you’d like to have answered? Submit your question in the comments below!

Home prices have been rising slowly and steadily this year, but according to a recently published analysis from Trulia Chief Economist Jed Kolko, homeownership is still cheaper than renting nationally. Of course, the gap between renting and buying depends on location.

For example, in locations like Memphis, Tennessee; Saint Louis, Missouri; and Grand Rapids, Michigan, it’s over 50 percent less expensive to buy, whereas in Los Angeles, California and New York, New York it’s approximately 20 percent cheaper. In the Santa Cruz area, it’s still 9 percent cheaper to buy than rent.

Therefore, if you’re thinking about buying, it may make sense to act now before interest rates rise. According to Kolko, nationally, buying will be cheaper than renting until interest rates hit 10.6 percent, but in the Santa Cruz area, the scales tip when interest rates reach 6 percent. By the end of 2014, Fannie Mae predicts interest rates to be at 4.8 percent, National Association of Realtors and Mortgage Bankers Association predict them to be 5.3 percent, and Freddie Mac predicts them to be at 5 percent.

In order to determine if buying is truly a better option for you than renting, it’s important to understand that Trulia’s calculations are quite conservative. The calculations assume a 4.5 percent 30-year fixed-rate mortgage, 20 percent down, itemizing tax deductions at the 25 percent bracket and 7 years in the home. They also use a conservative annual home price assumption that ranges between 1.7 percent and 3.1 percent, depending on the area.


For more information and to view the entire article on the Good Times Santa Cruz website, click here.

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