NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Trying to decide whether to buy a home or rent is one of the biggest financial decisions you can make.

In two-thirds of country's major metro areas, buying a home makes more sense than renting, even if the homebuyer stays in the home for just two years. But for other parts of the country, recouping the expenses and costs associated with buying a home will take a lot longer. In some metro areas, more than five years.

In these areas, it may make sense to rent a home as opposed to buying one -- especially if you plan to only stay a few years, even with low mortgage rates and rising home rental prices.

Zillow's (Z) break-even analysis looked at "how long it takes to come out ahead on a home purchase versus renting the same home, [by] recouping the costs [associated with] buying, including taxes and maintenance," the online real estate listings site said.

In other words, after buying and living in a home for more years than indicated by the "breakeven horizon," as Zillow calls it, "homeowners begin to have more money and assets than they would have if they had rented the same home over that same time period," the company said.

Zillow analyzed fourth-quarter data to determine which markets had the quickest break even periods, and which had the slowest.

Zillow calculated median estimate home values for the geographic areas by including the value of all single-family residences, condominiums and cooperatives, regardless of whether they sold within a given period. The values are seasonally adjusted.

It calculates a median monthly rental price for a given geographic area by including the value of all single-family residences, condominiums, cooperatives and apartments in Zillow's database, regardless of whether they are currently listed for rent.

Here are the 10 slowest markets to break even on a home. When you're done be sure to check out the top 10 markets where it's better to own than to rent.

Note: Breakeven time frames are based on fourth-quarter data; median home values, monthly rents and home price appreciation forecasts are as of May 31, 2015.

 

10. Milwaukee
Breakeven time frame: 2.8 years
Median home value: $184,400
Median monthly rent: $1,424

Milwaukee is tenth worst area to own a home, because homeowners will "break even" on their purchase in about 32 months, according to Zillow.

Milwaukee, with a population of 600,000, according to 2013 U.S. Census data, had a home-ownership rate of 43.7% for the five years through 2013, lower than the state of Wisconsin's rate of 68.1%.

Its median household income for the five years through 2013 was $35,467, according to Census data.

Zillow forecasts home prices in Milwaukee to remain flat over the next year.

 

 

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