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Market Data Report: Renting Looks More Attractive Than Ever in 2019

Jessa Claeys
2 min read
Market Data Report: Renting Looks More Attractive Than Ever in 2019

Was your New Year’s resolution to buy a home in 2019? That’s great—if you can afford it.

But for many people, purchasing property just might be a pipe dream (at least for the moment).

America is facing a significant affordable housing shortage, something likely to deter lots of would-be buyers from making the leap from renter to owner this year.

In fact, renting is more affordable than buying in about 60 percent of U.S. housing markets, according to recent research from ATTOM Data Solutions.

Its 2019 Rental Affordability Report took a look at properties all over the country, finding a three-bedroom rental to be more inexpensive than buying a median-priced home in 442 of the 755 counties it analyzed.

Rent Here, Not There

As would be expected, findings from the report confirm the cost of renting varied widely by location.

The top five most affordable rental markets included:

  1. Roane County (Knoxville area), Tenn.
  2. Peoria County, Ill.
  3. McMinn County (Athens), Tenn.
  4. Green County (Dayton), Ohio
  5. Rhea County (Dayton area), Ohio


The top five least affordable rental markets included:

  1. Santa Cruz County, Calif.
  2. Honolulu County, Hawaii
  3. Spotsylvania County, Va.
  4. Maui County, Hawaii
  5. San Benito County, Calif.

Don’t Hate the Messenger

“With rental affordability outpacing home affordability in the majority of U.S. housing markets, and home prices rising faster than rental rates, the American dream of owning a home, may be just that—a dream,” said Jennifer von Pohlmann, ATTOM’s director of content and PR.

Adding insult to injury, home prices continue to trend upward, but employee pay? Not so much.

Data shows the median cost of purchasing a home is rising faster than average weekly wages in the vast majority (80 percent!) of regions studied.

Related: With Markets Shifting, Should You Invest in Real Estate Now—Or Wait to Buy?

ATTOM’s new data reiterates findings from a previous study on the affordability—or more often than not, the lack of affordability—of purchasing a home under current economic conditions.

According to its U.S. Home Affordability Report published late last year, “the U.S. median home price in the fourth quarter was at the least affordable level since Q3 2008—a more than 10-year low.”

Cue the sad trombone.

But fortunately, there’s somewhat of a silver lining.

Landlords, Rejoice!

Aside from ruining aspiring buyers’ resolutions, today’s economic climate could spell good news for well-positioned investors and current landlords.

Related: Why Demand for Rentals Will Likely Rise in 2019

“With home price appreciation increasing annually at an average of 6.7 percent in those counties analyzed for this report and rental rates increasing an average of 3.5 percent, coupled with the fact that home prices are outpacing wages in 80 percent of the counties, renting a home is clearly becoming the more attractive option in this volatile housing market.”

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How do you feel about the current affordable housing shortage? Do you see this trend reversing course anytime soon?

I’d love to hear from you. Leave a comment below.

Note By BiggerPockets: These are opinions written by the author and do not necessarily represent the opinions of BiggerPockets.