Renting a three-bedroom home is cheaper than owning one in 90% of the U.S., report says

January 21, 2024 | by


In a recent report, it has been revealed that renting a three-bedroom home is more affordable than owning one in 90% of the United States. The report from Attom, a real-estate data analytics company, analyzed the cost of renting versus owning three-bedroom homes in 338 U.S. counties. The findings showed that home prices continue to rise, making it difficult for potential buyers to enter the market. On the other hand, renting remains a more affordable option, with median rental rates requiring a smaller portion of wages than buying a home in 88% of the counties analyzed. This trend highlights the challenges faced by home buyers in a housing market with rising prices.


Renting vs. Owning: Overview

In the majority of U.S. real estate markets, renting is the more favorable option compared to owning a home. This is especially true in the current housing market, where rising home prices have made it difficult for homebuyers to afford a house. Renting remains more affordable than owning, making it the preferred choice for many individuals and families.

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Factors Driving the Housing Market

The housing market is influenced by various factors, including falling mortgage rates and rising home prices. The combination of these factors creates a challenging environment for homebuyers. While mortgage rates have decreased, the increase in home prices offsets any potential savings. As a result, the cost of owning a home remains high.

Another factor impacting the housing market is the “lock-in effect.” This effect occurs when homeowners are hesitant to sell their homes due to the fear of buying another property with higher mortgage rates. This phenomenon has led to a decrease in home sales and further exacerbates the challenges faced by homebuyers.

Comparison of Renting Vs. Owning in Different Locations

When comparing the cost of owning versus renting in different locations, some areas stand out as particularly expensive for homeowners. Honolulu, Brooklyn, and Oakland are deemed the most expensive places to own a home relative to renting. In these areas, owning a home consumes a significant portion of a person’s average wages.

On the other hand, there are locations where owning is more affordable than renting. Riverside County and Wayne County, among others, offer homeownership opportunities that require a smaller share of average wages compared to renting. These findings are based on the assumption that buyers put a 20% down payment on their homes.

Renting a three-bedroom home is cheaper than owning one in 90% of the U.S., report says

Renting and Owning in Various U.S. Counties

An analysis of renting and owning in populous U.S. counties reveals that renting typically requires a smaller share of wages on average. This means that individuals and families who choose to rent can allocate a larger portion of their income towards other expenses or savings. However, there are specific counties where owning a home is more affordable than renting, bucking the overall trend. Such examples should be considered by those weighing their options.

Implications for Homebuyers and Renters

Homebuyers face numerous challenges in the current market conditions. Rising home prices, combined with falling mortgage rates, make it increasingly difficult to find affordable housing options. However, there are advantages and disadvantages to both renting and owning. Renting offers flexibility and lower upfront costs, while owning provides stability and potential long-term financial benefits.

Regional Differences in the Housing Market

There are significant regional differences in rental and home prices across the United States. Affordability varies from one region to another, impacting both potential buyers and renters. High rental and home prices in certain regions can pose obstacles to individuals and families looking to enter the housing market. Understanding these regional differences is crucial for making informed decisions.

Market Trends and Future Outlook

Recent trends in rental and home prices indicate a decline in rents and a rise in home prices. This trend reflects the current challenges faced by homebuyers and the increasing demand for rental properties. Predictions for the future of the housing market suggest continued uncertainty, but factors such as mortgage rates and housing supply will play a significant role in shaping the market.

Financial Considerations for Renting and Owning

There are several factors to consider when deciding between renting and owning, including financial stability, long-term plans, and personal preferences. Evaluating personal financial situations is essential to determine which option is more feasible and advantageous. It is important to assess factors such as income, savings, and expenses to make an informed decision.

Tips for Renters and Homebuyers

For those looking to rent a three-bedroom home, it is advisable to research rental rates in different locations and consider factors such as amenities, commute, and neighborhood safety. It is also essential to establish a budget and prioritize non-negotiables.

For individuals considering purchasing a three-bedroom home, it is crucial to evaluate their financial situation, including credit score, down payment amount, and future financial goals. Researching the housing market and working with a qualified real estate agent can provide valuable insights and guidance.


In conclusion, renting remains the more affordable option in the majority of U.S. real estate markets. Rising home prices and falling mortgage rates have created a challenging environment for homebuyers. While there are regional differences and specific areas where owning is more affordable than renting, renters enjoy greater flexibility and lower upfront costs. It is essential for individuals and families to consider their personal financial situation and long-term goals when making the decision between renting and owning. By carefully evaluating these factors, individuals can make an informed choice that suits their needs and financial capabilities.



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