Report finds wide gap in cost of renting versus buying a home in Houston

The cost of renting or buying a home, in Houston, continues to rise for a variety of reasons. 


A new study, though, shows there can be significant savings between the two, depending on where you live. 

While there's a lot of difference between renting and buying that can, ultimately, come down to 'flexibility' versus 'investment', a LendingTree comparison of the nation's largest metro-areas finds the difference can make quite a difference.

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Whichever you choose, buying a home or renting an apartment is getting pricier. Year-over-year, rents, in Houston, climbed more than 4%, while home prices jumped 17% in the same period. 

The LendingTree report compares the two costs, between a median one-bedroom apartment and the median cost of ownership. The headline: renting is cheaper by about $600 dollars a month, on average.

"What we're seeing, especially with the pandemic driving prices even higher, is a bigger and bigger split between who can afford to rent and who can afford to buy," says LendingTree's Jacob Channel.

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Among the results, the difference was most dramatic in the nation's most expensive cities, like New York, San Francisco, and Los Angeles, where it's about $1200 dollars, a month, cheaper to rent than buy. The narrowest gap is in Orlando, where renting saves about $300 dollars.

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In Texas, San Antonio is better than average; Austin and Dallas skew higher; Houston has the widest gap between renting and buying, with a $637 dollars difference, each month. LendingTree thinks there's an explanation for that.

"Houston is now getting a lot of entrants from tech-sectors, from places like California, who want to move somewhere cheaper," says Channel, "I think what you're seeing is a lot of people moving into Houston, specifically, and driving the prices up, which is causing a bigger gap between cost to own and cost to rent."

Clearly, there can be benefits to each option, but personal finances, long-term plans, and up-front costs are all things to consider before making a decision.