Rent or buy? Running the numbers on an Arlington condo

(Photo by Sue Elbertson) The exterior of Cambridge Courts condominiums

In this market, it’s not always easy to tell whether it makes more sense to rent or buy. With the help of SteetEasy, a real estate information Web site that launched in the D.C. metro area earlier this year, we decided to compare a property that is for rent and for sale to see which is the better deal. In the case of this Arlington condo, the difference is slight.

(Photo by Sue Elbertson) The living room at 2807 Arlington Blvd. Unit 202

The one-bedroom, one-bath unit is listed at $262,000, or you can rent the 642-square-foot condo for $1,550 a month. The second-floor condo has a washer and dryer in the unit and a fireplace. Pets are welcome. The Clarendon Metro is less than a mile away. The listing agent is Sue Elbertson of Prudential PenFed Realty.

(Photo by Sue Elbertson) The fireplace at 2807 Arlington Blvd. Unit 202

The StreetEasy data assumes that a buyer would make a 20 percent down payment and take out a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage at Monday’s rate of 4.67 percent. Condo fees and taxes are included in the calculation, but not the tax benefits of buying (e.g., mortgage interest deductions).

Address: 2807 Arlington Blvd., Unit 202, Arlington

Sale price: $262,000

Maintenance/taxes: $474 ($280 condo fee, $194 taxes)

Totally monthly costs when buying: $1,557

Rental price: $1,550

Kathy Orton is a reporter and Web editor for the Real Estate section. She covers the Washington metropolitan area housing market.



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