Thursday, February 26, 2015

Renting vs. Buying

By now, many people know that New Haven has the lowest apartment vacancy rate in the country.  What people may not realize is that, consequently, rents have gone up faster than they have in most other places.  So, rents in our area have risen over 50% in the past ten years, while home prices are still 20% lower than they were in 2007. 

When experts talk about the benefits of homeownership, most people assume that tax benefits, forced savings, appreciation, etc. that are being discussed.  What is now also true is that renting can now be so costly that the price of an apartment has become a deterrent to saving for home purchase. In fact, it can almost seem as though there are two divergent paths, where renters must stay renting, and purchasers are better off if they keep buying. 

We shouldn't give out the same old advice, without looking at the updated case for buying now, if you can.  There was always an argument that went something like "you  have to get on the merry-go-round, so that you can take advantage of the ride up in prices".  It may now go more like this:  "You need to get on the ride before the cost of sitting on the sidelines becomes prohibitive, preventing you from ever being able to buy a ticket for the ride."

All renters should carefully do the math, and make the appropriate decision for their circumstances, but that decision may not be the obvious one.