To buy or not to buy? That is the question. At least, that's the question for many Americans considering home ownership.
According to a recent evaluation by Zillow.com, buying a home is a better deal in almost every major U.S. housing market. In more than 75 percent of the 200 metros surveyed, homeowners would reach a "breakeven point" (where owning the home would be more financially beneficial than renting) in three years or less.
This analysis was the first of its kind by Zillow, in which all home ownership costs, including down payments, closing costs, mortgage payments, property taxes, utilities and maintenance costs, were compared to rental costs.
The report also considered projected home price appreciation and rent increases, as well as tax deductions and inflation, making it a highly comprehensive analysis. Zillow's findings back up other similar reports in which data relating to rising rents, record-low rates and falling home prices have put home ownership in an attractive light.
Although home ownership may be considered the smart option for many American consumers, it still may not be the best choice for everyone. The choice to buy versus continuing to rent is a personal decision that should not be taken lightly. If you're wondering whether it makes sense to purchase a home, talk to an experienced mortgage lender and real estate professional to run the numbers. Aside from the monthly mortgage expense, be sure to keep other costs in mind, such as home maintenance costs, taxes and fees.