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Housing: rent or buy?

Housing, on a national level, has become much more affordable (see chart below).  But housing market is always local.  If you are not sure whether it’s a good time to buy vs. rent a house, you are not alone.

(graph courtesy of Northern Trust)

A yardstick to look at is the house-price/rent ratio – generally it’s good time to buy if the rent ratio is well below 20.  Here is a list of rent ratios of major U.S. cities as of Q4 of 2009.

(click on the graph to enlarge; source: NYT)

Also , read this article from NYT, “In Sour Home Market, Buying Often Beats Renting

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