Making monthly house payments on a three-bedroom property is more affordable than paying fair market rent on a three-bedroom property in 188 of the 285 counties analyzed, according to a new analysis released by RealtyTrac.
In the analysis, researchers compared the percentage of median household income in each county that would be necessary to pay the fair market rent on a three-bedroom property to the percentage of median household income that would be needed to make monthly house payments – including mortgage, insurance, and property taxes – on an average-priced three-bedroom property.
The average percentage of median household income needed to rent was 29.96 percent across all 285 counties analyzed. The average percentage of median household income needed to buy was 29 percent.
“As home price appreciation moderates and aligns more closely with trends in rental rates, the returns in the buy-to-rent market are stabilizing and becoming more predictable — if not as lucrative as they were for investors who purchased a few years ago near the bottom of the market,” said Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac. “Buying rentals continues to be a brilliant strategy that allows investors to hedge their bets in a real estate market shifting away from homeownership and toward a sharing economy.”
The report also notes that 13 counties that were found to be more affordable to renters in 2014 moved to the "more affordable to buy" category in 2015. Those counties included Snohomish County, Wash. (Seattle metro area); Berks County, Penn. (Reading metro area); Hamilton County, Ind. (Indianapolis metro area); Thurston County, Wash. (Olympia metro area); Warren County, Ohio (Cincinnati area).