Cheapest U.S. Cities to Rent and the Cheapest U.S. Cities to Buy

Should you rent or buy? The cost of owning a home can be steep, but renters often feel as if they are throwing money away. New homeowners could always console themselves with the fact they would probably be paying more in rent if they had stayed in their old apartment. 

While buying is still cheaper in many cities in the middle of the country, the cost of buying a home or condo in the major metropolises on the coasts has risen to the point where renting now looks much more reasonable than before, according to reports by ATTOM Data Solutions and the Urban Institute.
 

Buying a home may be a better deal over the long run. But in the short-term it is now costing more to buy a house than rent an apartment in a growing number of cities, including Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Portland. The culprit is a surge in home prices that is far outpacing rent increases.

Here are the metro markets where it's cheaper to rent than buy, assuming a 3.5% down payment, followed by the cities where you're better off buying than renting.

The Urban Institute analyzed 33 metro areas, comparing the cost of owning a home, with a 3.5% down payment, vs. the cost of renting a home in the same market.

San Francisco
San Francisco

San Francisco

San Francisco is the priciest city for buyers, where it costs 42.5% more to buy than to rent.

Photo: Shutterstock

San Jose, Calif.
San Jose, Calif.

San Jose, Calif.

In San Jose, it costs 19% more to buy than to rent.

Photo: Sundry Photography / Shutterstock

Seattle
Seattle

Seattle

In Seattle, it costs 8.5% more to buy than to rent.

Photo: Shutterstock

San Diego, Calif.
San Diego, Calif.

San Diego, Calif.

In San Diego, it costs 7% more to buy than to rent.

Photo: Shutterstock

Sacramento, Calif.
Sacramento, Calif.

Sacramento, Calif.

In Sacramento, it costs 6.5% more to buy than to rent.

Photo: Shutterstock

Los Angeles
Los Angeles

Los Angeles

In Los Angeles, it costs 5% more to buy than to rent.

Photo: Shutterstock

Portland, Ore.
Portland, Ore.

Portland, Ore.

In Portland, it costs 5% more to buy than to rent.

Photo: Shutterstock

Riverside/San Bernardino, Calif.
Riverside/San Bernardino, Calif.

Riverside/San Bernardino, Calif.

In Riverside/San Bernardino, it costs 4.2% more to buy than to rent.

Photo: Shutterstock

Las Vegas
Las Vegas

Las Vegas

In Las Vegas, it costs 2.5% more to buy than to rent.

Photo: littlenySTOCK/Shutterstock

Phoenix, Ariz.
Phoenix, Ariz.

Phoenix, Ariz.

In Phoenix, it costs 1.8% more to buy than to rent.

Photo: Shutterstock

Baltimore, Md.
Baltimore, Md.

Baltimore, Md.

In Baltimore, it costs 1.7% more to buy than to rent.

Photo: Shutterstock

Denver
Denver

Denver

In Denver, it costs 1.5% more to buy than to rent.

Photo: Albert Pego / Shutterstock

Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C.

Washington, D.C.

In Washington, D.C., it costs 1.5% more to buy than to rent.

Photo: Shutterstock

St.Louis, Mo.
St.Louis, Mo.

St.Louis, Mo.

In St.Louis, it costs 0.5% more to buy than to rent.

Photo: f11photo / Shutterstock

Dallas
Dallas

Dallas

In Dallas, it costs 0.3% more to buy than to rent. 

Photo: Shutterstock

Charlotte, N.C.
Charlotte, N.C.

Charlotte, N.C.

In Charlotte, it costs 0.1% more to buy than to rent. So close.

Photo: Shutterstock

Cities Where it's Cheaper to Buy Than Rent
Cities Where it's Cheaper to Buy Than Rent

Cities Where it's Cheaper to Buy Than Rent:

Here are the metro markets where it is cheaper to buy a home with a 3.5% down payment than to rent.

Miami-Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Buyers get the more bang for their buck than renters in Miami, where it costs 10.9% less to buy than to rent.

Photo: travelview / Shutterstock

Detroit
Detroit

Detroit

In Detroit, it costs 7.1% less to buy than to rent.

Photo: Shutterstock

Chicago
Chicago

Chicago

In Chicago, it costs 5.6% less to buy than to rent.

Photo: Shutterstock

Philadelphia
Philadelphia

Philadelphia

In Philadelphia, it costs 5% less to buy than to rent.

Photo: Shutterstock

Tampa/St. Petersburg, Fla.
Tampa/St. Petersburg, Fla.

Tampa/St. Petersburg, Fla.

In the Tampa area, it costs 4.6% less to buy than to rent.

Photo: Shutterstock

Pittsburgh, Pa.
Pittsburgh, Pa.

Pittsburgh, Pa.

In Pittsburgh, it costs 4.5% less to buy than to rent.

Photo: Shutterstock

Cleveland
Cleveland

Cleveland

In Cleveland, it costs 3.5% less to buy than to rent.

Photo: Shutterstock

Cincinnati
Cincinnati

Cincinnati

In Cincinnati, it costs 3.4% less to buy than to rent.

Photo: Shutterstock

Orlando
Orlando

Orlando

In Orlando, it costs 3.2% less to buy than to rent.

Photo: Shutterstock

Houston
Houston

Houston

In Houston, it costs 2.5% less to buy than to rent.

Photo: Shutterstock

San Antonio, Texas
San Antonio, Texas

San Antonio, Texas

In San Antonio, it costs 2.3% less to buy than to rent.

Photo: f11photo/Shutterstock

New York City
New York City

New York City

In New York, it costs 1.8% less to buy than to rent.

Photo: Shutterstock

Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minn.
Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minn.

Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minn.

In Minneapolis, it costs 1.5% less to buy than to rent.

Photo: Shutterstock

Kansas City, Mo.
Kansas City, Mo.

Kansas City, Mo.

In Kansas City, it costs 1.4% less to buy than to rent.

Photo: Shutterstock

Columbus, Ohio
Columbus, Ohio

Columbus, Ohio

In Columbus, it costs 1.1% less to buy than to rent.

Photo: Shutterstock

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