July 20, 2024

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BofA reveals rent is cheaper than mortgages in all but two of 97 major metros

2 min read

This housing market has Bank of America economists in a Shakespearean mood about the eternal debate: The slings and arrows of buying versus renting. In a recently released Hamlet-esque research note, “To buy or not to buy, that is the question,” BofA economists found that buying, to paraphrase the prince of Denmark, is an outrageous fortune these days.

Mortgage rates have created a sea of troubles for homebuyers, hitting the once-unthinkable 8% mark before falling for weeks in the wake of cooler-than-expected inflation reports and the prospect of an end to the Federal Reserve’s rate hiking cycle. While that’s nobler in the mind in terms of affordability, home prices have still risen substantially in just three years, and consumers don’t think it’s a good time to buy, the economists said, citing a University of Michigan consumer sentiment survey. The economists also suggested that buyers should anticipate the undiscovered country of a higher-for-longer rate environment (echoing other investment banks who have said as much.)

At the same time, rents have gone up substantially as well—only recently has rent growth slowed as the rental market softens. “It clearly has not been a buyers’ market due to low affordability, but the situation has not been all that much better in the rental market,” they wrote in the note.

‘Rent was still cheaper than mortgages in all but two’

The BofA economists took a look at the rent versus buy conundrum, comparing rent and mortgage payments (they included property taxes in their calculation, but excluded home insurance, utilities and maintenance costs). Nonetheless, their analysis found that “rent was still cheaper than mortgages in all but two of 97 major Metro Areas,” as of October, despite the fact that both rents and mortgage payments have gotten more expensive, relative to median income, since the pandemic. It’s not hard to understand this, given that the whips and scorns of the pandemic let millions perchance…

2023-11-25 07:00:00

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