The analysis is based on market rent data from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, wage data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and publicly recorded sales records from ATTOM Data Solutions.
In the District, renting is the more affordable option than buying, according to ATTOM’s research. The company’s analysis found that the average weekly wages in the city were $1,778 and estimates that rent for a three-bedroom home is $2,421 in 2020 or 31.4 percent of income. Home sales prices in the District averaged $590,000 between January and November 2019, according to ATTOM’s data.
The monthly principal and interest for a $590,000 home would be $2,253, assuming a 20 percent down payment and a mortgage rate of 4 percent. Ownership costs would be increased with property taxes and homeowner’s insurance. Monthly payments would also be higher if buyers make a lower down payment since they would have a higher loan balance and also must pay mortgage insurance.
The District falls in line with most other highly populated suburban or urban markets, where renting is more affordable than buying a home. Homeownership tends to be more affordable in less populated counties.
Renting is more affordable than buying in 84 percent of counties with more than one million residents, including those surrounding Los Angeles, Chicago, New York, Houston, Phoenix, San Diego, Dallas, Seattle, Las Vegas, San Jose, San Francisco, San Antonio and Boston.
Among the counties with more than one million residents where buying a home is more affordable than renting are Miami-Dade, Broward and Hillsborough County (Tampa) in Florida, as well as counties that include Detroit, Philadelphia, Cleveland and Pittsburgh.
While low mortgage rates increase the affordability of buying, median home prices have been rising faster than rents in 67 percent of markets.
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