Key Highlights

  • Home prices remain more affordable than rental prices in 63% of most populous urban markets, according to ATTOM Data Solutions
  • This despite median home prices increasing more than rental prices in 83% of counties

ATTOM Data Solutions’ latest 2021 Rental Affordability Report indicates that owning a median priced three-bedroom home in approximately 63% of US housing markets is more affordable than renting a median priced three-bedroom home. This almost sounds counterintuitive based on the fact that home prices are rising faster than rental price and wages but it isn’t. Let’s take a look at the numbers.

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Based on ATTOM’s analysis of fair market rent for 2021 data from HUD and wage data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, plus IATTOM’s own public record sales data, home ownership is more affordable in nearly two-thirds of the country’s housing markets. Of course, record-low interest rates helped counteract rising home prices but home ownership in suburban and rural areas of the country are more affordable. On the other hand, renting is more affordable in the nations largest cities.

According to ATTOM’s chief product officer, Todd Teta, “…home ownership is still more affordable, as amazingly low mortgage rates that dropped below 3% are helping to keep the cost of rising home prices in check…the coming year is totally uncertain, amid so many questions connected to the COVID pandemic and the broader economy. But right now, owning a hone still appears to be a financially-sound choice for those who can afford it.”

Median prices for three-bedroom homes are rising more than three-bedroom rental prices in 83% of counties. These home price increases are more than wage increases in nearly 66% of the nation. Los Angeles County, Cook County (Chicago), Harris County (Houston), Maricopa County (Phoenix) and San Diego are seeing home prices rising faster than rent prices. On the other hand, rent prices are rising that home prices in Kings County (Brooklyn), Queens County NY, New York County (Manhattan), Bronx County and Allegheny County (Philadelphia.

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Renting is more affordable than owning in the nation’s most populated counties while owning a median priced three-bedroom home is more affordable in less- populated counties. The most affordable markets for renting are primarily in the South and Midwest. Likewise, the most affordable home ownership markets are also in the South and the Midwest.

Median home prices are increasing faster than average wage growth in 62% of the counties ATTOM analyzed including Los Angeles County, Cook County, Harris County, Maricopa County and Miami-Dade County. Average weekly wages are increasing faster than median home prices in some 38% including San Diego County, Orange County (outside LA), Kings County (Brooklyn), Queens County and King County (Seattle.)


Thanks to ATTOM Data Solutions.

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