Zillow has determined that San Antonio is the sweet spot for home ownership this quarter, based on the market's strong income growth, growing job market and the ability to break even on a home purchase in just over a year.
This is according to the Zillow® Breakeven Horizon, a quarterly report on how long home buyers need to stay in a home before buying it makes more financial sense than renting it. The national Breakeven Horizon is less than two years, and owning is more affordable than renting in 34 of the 35 largest metros. Yet for many it remains difficult to afford a down payment, especially as rents continue to rise, so Zillow combined the Breakeven Horizon with job market and income information to find places where home ownership is not just financially advantageous but also more likely to be financially possible.
In San Antonio, homeowners can expect to break even on a home purchase in one year and four months. Incomes have appreciated an average of 4% over the past year and employment growth has hit almost 3%, both more than the national average.
Long Breakeven Horizons are pushing Silicon Valley hot-spots down the list, despite relatively strong labor markets. In San Jose, homeowners need to stay in their home for more than three years to make buying it more financially advantageous than renting it. San Jose would move up 20 spots on the list if the Breakeven Horizon were the same as Seattle, at under two years.
"All places on this list are great for those looking to buy a home and settle down," said Zillow Chief Economist Dr. Svenja Gudell. "Not only do they have a strong labor market, but a home purchase in these markets makes a lot of financial sense. Be careful, though, because this assumes you can qualify for a mortgage, have a down-payment saved up and, most importantly, can find a home for sale in your price range. Simply put, buying a home in many of these markets is not for the faint of heart."
The labor market is looking especially strong in Raleigh and Columbus -- employment is up about 4% in Raleigh. In Columbus, incomes are appreciating just over 6%, more than double that of the nation, where incomes have appreciated about 2% over the past year.
Here's how the other measured markets fared: