Top 10 cities where renting is better than buying

  • (MoneyWatch) You've been told time and time again that buying a home is a better financial option than renting.

    But that's not true everywhere. Despite the affordability of today's homes, there are a few cities around the U.S. where renting might be a better bet, at least in the short run.

    Comparing buying versus renting costs is all about identifying the break-even point. It's a given that buying a home is more expensive upfront than renting. But at some point, owning typically becomes less expensive than renting.

    The question is: how long does that take? If it takes more than a couple years before owning costs less than renting, you might be better off financially as a renter, especially if your long-term plans aren't that certain.

    Real estate research firm Zillow did the math and factored in all kinds of possible costs, including monthly rent and mortgage payments, insurance, property taxes, maintenance and closing costs, and expected price appreciation to come up with the exact point at which buying becomes less expensive than renting.

    In some cities, like Miami, it will take just two years on average before buying costs less than renting, making buying an attractive option. But elsewhere in the Northeast it will take upwards of four or five years before you're saving any money.

    The longer it takes before buying becomes less expensive than renting, the less sense it makes to buy now. Check out the top 10 cities where renting could be better than buying.

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    Ilyce R. Glink is an award-winning, nationally-syndicated columnist, best-selling book author and founder of Best Money Moves, an employee benefit program that helps reduce financial stress. She also owns, where readers can find real estate and personal finance resources.