Generally speaking, with interest rates as low as they currently are monthly rent payments are equal to or greater than the monthly mortgage payment to buy a comparable place. For many the decision to rent comes from looking at housing as shelter vs a long term investment.
Historically rental rates increase from year to year vs a mortgage that can be locked in for 7, 10, 15 or 30 years. So long term buying will give you greater control over your housing costs. Bottom Line, in today economy, if you can qualify for a loan and have even a low amount of savings for down payment and closing costs it probably makes more sense to buy vs. rent based solely on cost. Additionally there can be substantial income tax benefits to owning vs renting which translate to the notion that the government will allow you to take part f the dollars you would have otherwise paid in income tax to be used to pay your home payment.
If you’re planning to move within 2-3 years, you might not want to incur the costs of buying a home realizing that the home would have to increase in value 2%-3% per year for the purchase price down the road to cover your selling costs. But if you intend to stick around for 3 years or longer, then buying usually makes sense.
If you think the possibility exists that a new job or position could prompt a move to a different part of town or even a different city than renting may provide greater flexibility between short term leases, annual lease renewals and even ‘job transfer’ clauses that allow you to break a lease early with little or no penalty if you take a new job out of the area. Or if you are new to town or a part of town and you are not sure which part of town you want to living on then renting gives you the ability to ‘try before you buy’
For many owning their own home is lifelong dream. The notion of buying a place, fixing it up substantially or even just decorating and putting your mark on the home is an option that rentals don’t provide. However for some having to deal with home repairs, landscaping and occasional improvements are viewed as costly, time-consuming and a hassle. For these folks, who still would prefer to own Condominium living may be the perfect option. With Condominiums a home owner association (HOA) board or management firm hired by the board deals with the daily exterior and common area maintenance and repairs. For some homeowners, that travel a lot for work or pleasure condominium can also be a great option since it’s much easier to come and go without worrying about daily maintenance, care or security. Condominiums range from detached single family homes or zero lot line developments that to most appear to be just like any other homes. But with zero lot line properties all of the exterior exterior landscape and snow removal are handled by the HOA all the way up to the all of the exterior structure and landscape can be maintained by the HOA. Similarly paired patio homes, where units typically share one or two common walls, leave the homeowner to deal only with the daily maintenance and care of the interior of the condo. Townhouses or Row houses usually share one wall with each neighbor and mid rise or high rise condominium developments typically don’t have doors directly to the outside but rather a shared common hallway. The different types of condominiums provide varying degrees of privacy and traditional “single family lifestyle” but without 100% of the responsibilities associated with traditional home ownership.