When renting is better than buying a house

Personal finance

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Sorry for the hiatus in posts — I just returned from a trip to the rural South to visit family. Now that I live in the SF Bay area, it’s near impossible to convey to people living in other parts of the country how high the housing costs are here. On the Peninsula, a 2b/1br house built in the 50s or 60s with around 1000 sq. ft. of space averages $750,000. You’re lucky if you get a smidgen of a yard. We’re renting said house for less than $2000 a month. A similar house in the region where my family resides would run less than $100K!

The housing situation in the Bay area and elsewhere and whether there’s a housing bubble are discussed all over the place, but one resource anyone moving here should consider are rent vs. buy calculators (a google search lists tons). Here’s that shows a little more than simply “rent” or “buy”. In short, even the tax shield you receive on interest payments doesn’t justify buying a house here in most cases, and definitely not if you’re not looking to stay a long, long time. These calculators also don’t take into account the maintenance costs of a house. I’m not saying renting is the best way to go, but it seems like the better of two costly options right now. For anyone who’s interested, here’s an excellent in-depth .


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