To Buy or to Rent: That is the Question

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Unless you are fortunate to live in a rent controlled building, you may have noticed your monthly rent rise dramatically in recent years. Checking in at $3,530 per month, the median rent for a one-bedroom has been the highest in the country for six months following a 13.5% rise last year (and up as much as 29.2% in Noe Valley). For many renters, what they pay out every month could easily be a mortgage payment on a comparable place– the monthly Principal + Interest on a $1,000,000 home is $3819.32, assuming 20% down and a 30-year mortgage fixed at 4%. As of today, there is more than 330 single-family homes and condos/TICs/lofts that are Active on the MLS listed for under $1,000,000.

Plugging in local San Francisco data (August 2015 sales figures) to the New York Times’ Rent vs. Buy calculator reveals some compelling numbers. Buying a condominium at August 2015’s $1,045,000 median sale price or a single-family home at the $1,225,444,000 median is a better financial decision even if you could rent for free!

 

San Francisco condominium Rent vs. Buy results:

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San Francisco single-family home Rent vs. Buy results:

home

 

The assumptions I made in the above calculations are as follows:

  • Purchase price: $1,045,000 for condos, $1,225,444 for single-family homes
  • Length of time in home: 5 years
  • Mortgage Rate: 4%
  • Down payment: 20%
  • Length of Mortgage: 30 years
  • Home price growth rate: 13.3% for condos, 20.0% for single-family homes (12-month average, the NYT calculator maxes out at 15%)
  • Rent growth rate: 13.5% (median one-bedroom increase in 2014)
  • Investment rate of return: 7% (approx. long-term average annual ROI of stocks)
  • Inflation Rate: 2%
  • Property tax rate: 1.19%
  • Marginal tax rate: 28%
  • Taxes filed on a Joint Return
  • Costs of buying a home: 3% (approx. closing costs)
  • Costs of selling a home: 8% (approx. closing costs + marketing + customary 5% commission to brokers)
  • Maintenance/renovation: 1%
  • Homeowner’s insurance: 0.1% (approx. $50-$100+ per month depending on property type)
  • Monthly utilities: $100
  • Monthly common fees: $600 for condos, $0 for single-family homes
  • Common fees deduction: 0%
  • Security Deposit: 1 month
  • Broker’s fee: 0%
  • Renter’s Insurance: 0.1%

 

San Francisco condominium median price growth, 2005 to present:

San Francisco single-family home median price growth, 2005 to present:

 

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Meredith Martin is a Broker Associate at Paragon Real Estate Group and can be reached at Meredith@OpeningDoors.me

CalBRE #01224570

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