CONSUMER WATCH: rent or buy?

CNN

To rent or to buy in the current housing market? A new survey says it depends where you look

Sunday, May 4, 2014 - 9:00pm

Mortgage rates have remained low and as the housing market continues its recovery rents have been creeping upward, and many may be wondering - should I continue renting, or should I buy a home?

A new analysis by real estate website Zillow, says it depends where you're looking. In about half of major metropolitan areas surveyed, buying becomes the better option after about 2 years, as owners break even on their investment.

Among the markets where owners broke even more quickly - Riverside, California, Orlando, Tampa, and Miami-Fort Lauderdale, all more or less, one year.

But among those with the longest time to break even - Washington, DC, Boston, Phoenix and San Diego, all three years or more.

Despite positive signs in certain markets, buying isn't for everyone just yet, and Zillow says breaking even is just one factor to consider.

Before making the leap to owning a home, renters should take certain extra costs into consideration in addition to what they'll pay for their mortgage each month.

Most importantly, their down payment. Also, closing costs, insurance, taxes, and utility and maintenance costs that may be paid by a renter's landlord now.

Also consider future needs, like whether your family and your housing needs will expand within the next few years.

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