Renting a home may be wiser than buying

Renting a home may be wiser than buying, the latest BH&J Buy vs. Rent Index shows.

Demand for homeownership is still trending downward in major markets, the new Beracha, Hardin & Johnson Buy vs. Rent (BH&J) Index reveals. Covering the second quarter of 2019, the index reveals that 19 of the 23 metropolitan markets tracked indicate slight to significant downward pressure on the demand for homeownership.

Eli Beracha

Eli Beracha

The current index scores suggest that housing prices have far outpaced the cost of renting, providing opportunity for families to rent and reinvest in a portfolio of stocks and bonds in order to create wealth.

Published quarterly, the index is produced by Eli Beracha and William Hardin, professors at FIU’s Hollo School of Real Estate, and Ken Johnson, professor at Florida Atlantic University.

“This is not surprising as the nation’s housing market enters the late stages of the current housing cycle,” said Ken Johnson, associate dean of graduate programs at Florida Atlantic University’s College of Business.

In the second quarter, several markets are peaking while others remain in a pricing bubble.

William Hardin

William G. Hardin

Dallas, Denver and Houston continue to experience dramatic downward pressure on the demand for homeownership, making them the most favorable for renters. Also falling, although at a slightly lower rate, are Seattle, Pittsburgh, Kansas City, Miami, Portland and San Francisco.

“For markets near zero, I have very little concern about future home prices,” Johnson said. “Clearly, however, Dallas, Denver and Houston are the canaries in the coal mine. As they go, so should markets like Seattle, Pittsburgh, Kansas City, Miami, Portland and San Francisco.”

The markets experiencing slight to mild decline are Atlanta, Los Angeles, San Diego, Philadelphia, Minneapolis, Honolulu, St. Louis, Boston, Milwaukee and Cincinnati.

Four cities are in buyer’s territory – Cleveland, Chicago, New York and Detroit.

Ken Johnson

Ken Johnson

“All four of these areas are currently experiencing slight upward pressure on the demand for homeownership,” said Eli Beracha, co-creator of the index and director of the Hollo School of Real Estate at FIU. “The coming peak in the housing cycle should have very little impact on these markets.”

Factors including slowing housing starts, rising mortgage rates, decreased demand and unsustainable price increases are all combining to slow housing markets around the country, the professors noted.

Beracha and Johnson agree the U.S. is near the peak in its current housing cycle, and while they have worries for some markets, they do not foresee a housing decline comparable to the housing market crisis from 2008 to 2012.

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