One of the hottest topics in housing is whether to rent or own a home. Market conditions and personal finances and other things factor into the decision to rent or own a home. Learn how calculations actually work in order to feel confident on deciding what is right for the budget and family.
The first thing to understand is how math works for each individual looking at homes. Calculating monthly costs of home ownership, subtracting tax benefits and comparing the final figure will help gauge the difference between home rental versus home ownership in the same neighborhood.
Assume a credit score of 750, a $300,000 home purchase price with 10 percent down ($30,000) for a 30-year fixed mortgage. Current rates hover around 3.25 percent. A mortgage calculator will tally the total monthly cost as follows:
Mortgage payment of principal and interest $1,175
Property taxes $300
Private mortgage insurance (PMI) $133
Homeowners insurance $67
TOTAL monthly cost $1,675
Calculate the tax benefit by deducting the mortgage interest and property taxes. Multiply the loan amount by $270,000 by a rate of 3.25 percent for a total of $8,775. To calculate annual property tax, multiply the $300,000 home price by a national average of 1.2 percent property tax to get $3,600. The sum of $8,775 along with $3,600 equals $12,375 in deductible costs. Based on the income needed to qualify for a $300,000 home, the tax bracket is likely around 28 percent. Multiply $12,375 by 28 percent for annual tax savings of $3.465. Divide that number by 12 months for estimated savings of $289. Subtract this number from the total housing cost of $1,675 for after-tax cost of $1,386.
Compare the estimated after-tax housing cost of $1,386 to market rent for a comparable home in the same city with similar size, quality and location.
The second thing to understand is that it takes time for owning to become cheaper than renting. A cost-benefit analysis is helpful when determining which is more cost effective but also which provides the most benefit over the long term. A breakeven horizon is when buying becomes more favorable in a year when costs to buy become less than or equal to renting costs. When it comes to making an investment, it is important to note how long it will take for this to happen if questions remain as to the benefit of renting versus owning for the future.