Rents are spiraling to the stratosphere. Home prices are going up, but slower; and interest rates are still dirt cheap. So, in most places, that means that the time it takes for a homeowner to "break even" and go into the "black" as far as a financial advantage over renting a similar property is pretty short. Under two years, in most markets.
Zillow senior economist Skylar Olsen looks at data in hundreds of U.S. markets, and submarkets, at the "breakeven" horizon, an indicator of favorable buy-vs.-rent trends in most places. You can scroll through, and get pretty granular data on the breakeven horizon down to the zip level. Here's the top line findings Olsen spotlights:
- The U.S. Breakeven Horizon was 1.9 years as of the end of 2015, unchanged from Q4 2014.
- Home buyers break even on a home purchase in less than two years in 70 percent of housing markets, compared to renting the same home.
- Among the largest 35 markets, the longest Breakeven Horizon is in Washington, D.C.: 4.5 years. The shortest is in Dallas: 1.3 years.