Fourth-shortest break-even period: Riverside, Calif.
Break-even point: 2.2 years
Located some 60 miles east of Los Angeles, the Riverside area offers property buyers quick break-evens compared with renting because home prices there are soaring.
Zillow estimates the median Riverside home's value has risen 16.3% over the past year to reach $210,100 -- with another 17.2% gain forecast for the next 12 months.Gudell says that beats paying the $1,588 a month that Zillow estimates the typical Riverside rental costs. "[Big price appreciation] gives you a very short break-even period," she says. Would-be buyers will find that some 1,400 Riverside properties are for sale.
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