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30 Cities Where Rent Is Cheaper Than a Mortgage

What is the difference in housing costs for renters vs. mortgaged owners?

If you’re wondering what’s cheaper — renting or paying a mortgage, the answer is renting in each of the nation’s 50 largest metros. In fact, it’s $606 a month less to rent, on average, according to a study by Lending Tree.

But it doesn’t mean renting is cheap. In San Jose, Calif., for example, renting is $1,098 less than a mortgaged home, but the median monthly rent is $2,249, one of the highest in the country, the study found. (The housing costs include utilities, fees and taxes.)

In some cities, the gap in cost between renting and owning is much narrower. In Orlando, Fla., Tampa, Fla., and Indianapolis, for example, renters can save an average $335 a month over owning. (It’s worth noting that the median home sale price in Indianapolis is $208,000, considerably less than San Jose’s $1.28 million.)

To find the difference in cost between renting and paying a mortgage, LendingTree used data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2019 American Community Survey with five-year estimates to determine the median costs to own and rent a home in the nation’s 50 largest metropolitan statistical areas. They subtracted the median monthly housing costs in each metro for those who have a mortgage by the median monthly gross rent in each metro.

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Here is the difference in cost between renting and paying a mortgage in 30 U.S. metros, in order of the greatest spread between the two according to LendingTree.