17 housing markets where it's smarter to buy than rent

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Sometimes it pays to buy a house.

While the homeownership rate in the US has sunk to an almost 30-year low, in some parts of the country it's actually cheaper to buy a house than rent

Real estate research firm RealtyTrac analyzed data from 504 counties in larger housing markets around the US and found that buying was cheaper in just under 58% of the counties.Advertisement

They analyzed government real estate data and calculated the amount of average wages in each market a person would have to spend on renting the median 3-bedroom house versus buying it.

We've looked at RealtyTrac's data and complied the 17 large counties where it makes most sense to buy. We've only included counties with populations over 300,000 and with a difference between buying instead of renting is more than 10% of wages.

Over half of the list is from Florida. But you'll have to go further inland to find the greatest savings.
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Check out the full list below and you can see RealtyTrac's full report here.

(Note: We've included counties with populatons over 300,000 and savings on buying instead of renting is more than 10% of wages. Additionally, average monthly house cost was computed using an insurance payment rate of 0.35% of median home value and a property tax rate of 1.04% of median home value.)

17. Lake County, FL

17. Lake County, FL

Metro Area: Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, FL

Population: 300,926

Median Weekly Income: $665

Average Monthly Rent: $1,405

Estimated Monthly House Payment: $1,109

Percent of median income saved from buying instead of renting: 10.26%

16. Duval County, FL

16. Duval County, FL

Metro Area: Jacksonville, FL

Population: 872,598

Median Weekly Income: $911

Average Monthly Rent: $1,356

Estimated Monthly House Payment: $936

Percent of median income saved from buying instead of renting: 10.64%

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15. Wayne County, MI

15. Wayne County, MI

Metro Area: Detroit-Warren-Dearborn, MI

Population: 1,804,507

Median Weekly Income: $1,059

Average Monthly Rent: $1,234

Estimated Monthly House Payment: $738

Percent of median income saved from buying instead of renting: 10.81%

14. Volusia County, FL

14. Volusia County, FL

Metro Area: Deltona-Daytona Beach-Ormond Beach, FL

Population: 496,268

Median Weekly Income: $713

Average Monthly Rent: $1,290

Estimated Monthly House Payment: $953

Percent of median income saved from buying instead of renting: 10.90%

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13. Bristol County, MA

13. Bristol County, MA

Metro Area: Providence-Warwick, RI-MA

Population: 549,870

Median Weekly Income: $900

Average Monthly Rent: $2.027

Estimated Monthly House Payment: $1,551

Percent of median income saved from buying instead of renting: 12.22%

12. Philadelphia County, PA

12. Philadelphia County, PA

Metro Area: Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD

Population: 1,536,704

Median Weekly Income: $1,137

Average Monthly Rent: $1,502

Estimated Monthly House Payment: $891

Percent of median income saved from buying instead of renting: 12.41%

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11. Cumberland County, NC

11. Cumberland County, NC

Metro Area: Fayetteville, NC

Population: 322,033

Median Weekly Income: $760

Average Monthly Rent: $1,234

Estimated Monthly House Payment: $818

Percent of median income saved from buying instead of renting: 12.63%

10. Prince George's County, MD

10. Prince George's County, MD

Metro Area: Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV

Population: 873,481

Median Weekly Income: $1,002

Average Monthly Rent: $2,144

Estimated Monthly House Payment: $1,591

Percent of median income saved from buying instead of renting: 12.74%

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9. Polk County, FL

9. Polk County, FL

Metro Area: Lakeland-Winter Haven, FL

Population: 610,295

Median Weekly Income: $735

Average Monthly Rent: $1,284

Estimated Monthly House Payment: $878

Percent of median income saved from buying instead of renting: 12.75%

8. Mobile County, AL

8. Mobile County, AL

Metro Area: Mobile, AL

Population: 413,188

Median Weekly Income: $827

Average Monthly Rent: $1,111

Estimated Monthly House Payment: $637

Percent of median income saved from buying instead of renting: 13.23%

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7. Broward County, FL

7. Broward County, FL

Metro Area: Miami-Ft. Lauderdale-West Palm Beach, FL

Population: 1,784,889

Median Weekly Income: $907

Average Monthly Rent: $1,907

Estimated Monthly House Payment: $1,370

Percent of median income saved from buying instead of renting: 13.66%

6. Marion County, FL

6. Marion County, FL

Metro Area: Ocala, FL

Population: 333,503

Median Weekly Income: $679

Average Monthly Rent: $1,132

Estimated Monthly House Payment: $719

Percent of median income saved from buying instead of renting: 14.02%

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5. Pinal County, AZ

5. Pinal County, AZ

Metro Area: Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, AZ

Population: 379,128

Median Weekly Income: $758

Average Monthly Rent: $1,419

Estimated Monthly House Payment: $932

Percent of median income saved from buying instead of renting: 14.83%

4. Escambia County, FL

4. Escambia County, FL

Metro Area: Pensacola-Ferry Pass-Brent, FL

Population: 300,795

Median Weekly Income: $763

Average Monthly Rent: $1,228

Estimated Monthly House Payment: $727

Percent of median income saved from buying instead of renting: 15.14%

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3. Baltimore City County, MD

3. Baltimore City County, MD

Metro Area: Baltimore-Columbia-Towson, MD

Population: 621,445

Median Weekly Income: $1,094

Average Monthly Rent: $1,663

Estimated Monthly House Payment: $823

Percent of median income saved from buying instead of renting: 17.72%

2. Pasco County, FL

2. Pasco County, FL

Metro Area: Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FL

Population: 468,194

Median Weekly Income: $718

Average Monthly Rent: $1,407

Estimated Monthly House Payment: $832

Percent of median income saved from buying instead of renting: 18.47%

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1. Fayette County, KY

1. Fayette County, KY

Metro Area: Lexington-Fayette, KY

Population: 300,843

Median Weekly Income: $866

Average Monthly Rent: $1,217

Estimated Monthly House Payment: $217

Percent of median income saved from buying instead of renting: 26.65%

17 housing markets where it's smarter to buy than rent

17 housing markets where it's smarter to buy than rent

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