More Affordable to Buy or Rent in Guilford County?

The Greensboro News & Record has an article that looks at the cost of buying versus renting in Guilford County:

If all you care about is the bottom line, you’ll want to buy rather than rent a home in Guilford County. Renting just isn’t worth it.

That’s according to ATTOM Data Solutions, a top provider of real estate statistics. In a new report, the Irvine, Calif.-based company compared wages with rental rates and home prices in 540 counties across the country to answer this question: Is it cheaper to rent your home or buy it?…

In Guilford County, with 495,000 residents, the median cost of renting a three-bedroom apartment is estimated at $1,089 for 2017. The median home price in 2016 was $139,000. The average weekly wage here was $856 in the second quarter of 2016.

And ATTOM Data says it’s no contest: You’re better off buying a home because, under current interest rates, you’ll spend less of your income on a mortgage than rent.

As we’ve pointed out in the past, however, an equally operative question in this day and age is, “Can you qualify?” Thanks to the stricter lending standards it’s much more difficult to qualify for a loan these days than it was in the pre-Great Recession world, so even if it is less expensive to be it’s just not possible for many potential home buyers.

There’s also an increasing likely probability that the gap between renting and owning is going to shrink in the near future. The home construction market is constrained, especially at the entry level end of the market, which means prices will go up as millennials (finally) start looking to buy in significant numbers. Add to that the predicted interest rate increases over the next year or two and that affordability gap could close quickly.