The Breakeven Horizon from Zillow, which measures the amount of time a person needs to live in a home before buying is financially better than renting, has increased 20 days from a year prior to 1 years and 11 months in Q4 2016.
Zillow says that the slowdown of home value growth in pricey markets, many of which are on the coasts, has lengthened the breakeven point.
The Breakeven Horizon factors in growth in rents and home values, price-to-rent ratios, and mortgage rates.
It now takes an additional year and a half to justify homeownership to renting.
Driven by both a slowdown in home value growth over the past year and by continued slowdowns to come, the Breakeven Horizon has lengthened in many of the nation’s most expensive markets.
An expected slowdown in the pace of home value growth in a number of pricey, fast-moving markets means it may take longer going forward to break even financially when buying a home in those areas compared to renting it.
Zillow’s Breakeven Horizon estimates the number of years you would have to live in your home for buying it to have been more cost effective than renting it. Factors including expected growth in rents and home values, price-to-rent ratios and mortgage interest rates can all have a significant impact on the costs and benefits of renting versus buying.
Because home values are growing more slowly, it will naturally take longer to earn enough equity in a home to offset the very large upfront costs necessary to purchase a home.
Home values have rebounded strongly over the past several years, and in some areas are higher than they’ve ever been, so the question of whether or not it’s a good time to buy is becoming less obvious to many households as home affordability itself suffers. Thankfully, for most households, buying a home is not – and should not be – about timing the market and making a financial killing. It’s about deciding where and how to live, and knowing how long you’ll need to wait before making those decisions again.