Break-even point: 2.3 years Zillow estimates you'll need only a tad more than two years to break even buying a home here instead of renting one. Gudell says that's because prices are modest today -- the median Dallas/Fort Worth home costs $132,700 -- but expected to rise a decent 3.5% over the next year. By contrast, the median Dallas/Fort Worth rental costs a relatively high $1,340 per month. "Home values are a little bit low in relation to rents," Gudell says. If you're interested in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, Zillow lists more than 5,000 homes for sale there.
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. "
Break-even point: 2.1 years Phoenix is rising from the housing bust's ashes, with median local property values bouncing back by an estimated 24% over the past year to hit $165,600. Zillow predicts home values will rise another 10.6% during the coming 12 months, which means people who buy Phoenix properties can expect a quick break-even point. Gudell says that's particularly true given that home values are still relatively low when compared with the area's $1,170 estimated median rent. Add in the expected future home-price appreciation and "it's looking pretty
Break-even point: Two years The Miami/Fort Lauderdale metro area is another market that fell sharply during the housing bust but is snapping back -- meaning buyers can expect good future price appreciation and short break-even periods. Zillow estimates that median home values rose 12.1% there over the past year to reach $159,000, with another 4.1% increase expected over the coming 12 months. Gudell says that when you add in the fact that the metro area's $1,624 median estimated rent is "relatively high compared to home values," buying a home there "looks very attractive." You can check out some 3,500 properties currently available in and around Miami by clicking here.
Break-even point: 1.96 years Struggling Detroit has seen property prices fall so low that Zillow estimates homebuyers need less than two years to break even by purchasing places instead of renting. That's because median Motown home values (currently $84,700) fell far more during the housing bust than did rents (now at $1,036 a month), according to Gudell. "You can find a house for $60,000 or $70,000 and I guarantee you that your mortgage payment will be less than $1,036 a month," she says. At the same time, Zillow estimates Motor City home values rebounded 13.1% over the past year and will add another 4.4% during the coming 12 months -- making it even easier to break even by buying instead of renting. The site lists some 5,000 Detroit-area properties as up for sale.