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Originally published September 14, 2012 at 8:01 PM | Page modified September 16, 2012 at 8:35 AM

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It's often cheaper to buy than rent, website Trulia says

Rents are rising faster while mortgage rates remain at all-time lows.

MarketWatch

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CHICAGO -- It's much cheaper to buy a home than rent one in 100 of the largest U.S. metropolitan areas, according to a report released Thursday by the real-estate website Trulia.

"Despite the recent (home) price rebound, rents continue to rise faster than (home) prices, and mortgage rates are near record lows," said Jed Kolko, Trulia's chief economist, in a news release. And that's leading to favorable homeownership costs in most corners of the country.

In its analysis, Trulia looked at the average price of all homes for sale and the average rent of all homes for lease on the website between the beginning of June and the end of August.

Homeownership affordability, compared with renting, was highest in Detroit, where the average cost of owning a home is $349 a month and the average cost of renting one is $1,149 a month.

Other markets where homeownership affordability is high: Gary, Ind.; Oklahoma City, Okla.; Lakeland-Winter Haven, Fla.; and Toledo, Ohio.

On the other end of the spectrum: Honolulu, where home affordability, compared with renting, was the lowest of the 100 areas. The monthly cost of homeownership in Honolulu is an average $1,519 and the monthly cost of renting is an average $2,007.

Other metro markets where homeownership affordability is lower: San Francisco; New York; San Jose, Calif.; and Los Angeles.

Despite being more affordable to buy in many markets, often people can't take advantage, Kolko said.

In the recession, many people found it harder to save -- and harder to keep up their credit scores," he said.

"Homeownership makes the most financial sense for people whose strong credit scores let them snag the lowest mortgage rate and who get the biggest benefit from deducting mortgage interest and property taxes from their income taxes," he said.


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