NEW YORK (MainStreet) – Thinking of giving up that apartment lease and taking the plunge into homeownership? A recent report from Robert W. Baird & Co. offers a little insight that could help budding homebuyers decide if it makes financial sense to take the leap now or wait. In some instances, it can even be cheaper for consumers to buy a house rather than rent.
The report provides a cost analysis that compares average monthly rents with monthly homeownership costs in each of the country's largest markets. The study took into account property values, mortgages rates and average rents in high-end apartment units when compiling the data.
Baltimore tops the list of markets that offer the best bargains for renters who want to become homeowners. In the first quarter of 2015, its average monthly rent for a high-end apartment was $1,478. However, the average cost of owning a home in that market was cheaper at $1,323 a month.
Tampa came in second, with average monthly rents being $1,046 - which is pricier than the $1,037 monthly cost of owning a home. Others on the list include Norfolk/Richmond, Va.; Washington, D.C.; Chicago; and Phoenix, where monthly rental costs were still lower than owning but with a neglible difference of less than $200 a month difference.
When it comes to renting, Seattle, New York and Los Angeles ranked at the top of the list, where it's far cheaper to pay the landlord than the bank. In Seattle, the average rent for a high-end apartment stood at $1,418, which is sharply lower than the $2,761 cost of owning. In Metro New York, which includes cities in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, the average rent was $2,503 a month while the cost of owning was a whopping $4,365 a month.