Skip to main content

Do Smaller Markets Offer Better Deals for Renters?

Phil Hall
May 01, 2015

While almost all current data indicates it is more cost-effective to buy a home than to rent, that is not to say that renting is a 100 percent lose-lose situation.

A new study from Realtor.com finds that rents can get a great value if they focus on smaller city markets of 50,000 people or less. Leading the list as the most renter-friendly market is Los Alamos, N.M., followed by Columbus, Neb.; Summit Park, Utah; Spirit Lake, Iowa; Kearney, Neb.; Bismarck, N.D.; Cedar Rapids, Iowa; Grand Island, Neb.; Iowa’s Des Moines-West Des Moines metro area; and Madison, Wis.

Nonetheless, Realtor.com Chief Economist Jonathan Smoke noted that affordable homeownership is easily located in all of these markets, with the possible exceptions of Summit Park and Bismarck.

“Renting is not a wise long-term financial choice if you intend to live in a market beyond a break-even amount of time and you can afford to buy,” Smoke said.

On the flip side, Smoke noted that major metro areas are still rich with “buyer bargains” in housing, with Atlanta offering the best opportunities in affordable homeownership.

“Atlanta has always been more affordable, despite having seen very strong population growth for decades,” Smoke said. “There’s no natural barrier like an ocean or mountains or desert that limits development—so new construction has kept supply in balance with demand.”

Other “buyer bargain” metro areas include Chicago, Philadelphia, Detroit, Tampa-St. Petersburg, St. Louis, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Indianapolis and Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News.

“Our top markets for buying generally didn’t see the kind of price appreciation in the housing boom that the true bubble markets saw—and many of them, such as Detroit, actually went through turbulent economic times” Smoke said.

Published
May 01, 2015
Total Expert Appoints Gaydos As President

Former Talkdesk and SAP senior executive brings extensive cloud, go-to-market, sales, and operations experience.

Industry News
Jan 20, 2022
Sagent Appoints Thompson As Chief Product Officer

Founder of fintech managment consulting firm Consigliera will lead and expand product development.

Industry News
Jan 20, 2022
400 Mortgage Loan Originators Caught Trying To Skip School

400 mortgage loan originators nationwide deceptively claimed to have completed their annual continuing education as required by state and federal law.

Industry News
Jan 19, 2022
Infamous Better.com CEO Is Back And Employees Are Upset

After a month-long hiatus or “break” as Garg likes to call it, the CEO is back at the helm of the company.

Industry News
Jan 19, 2022
Capacity Closes $38M In Series C Funding, Surpasses $62M In Total Capital Raised

AI-powered automation platform, Capacity, announced an additional $27 million in Series C funding, closing out the round at more than $38 million.

Tech
Jan 19, 2022
Millennials Are Still Powering The Housing Market

First American Financial Corporation's Potential Home Sales Model for Dec. 2021 revealed that millennial demand is propelling the housing market, thanks to low rates and increased geographic flexibility.

Analysis and Data
Jan 19, 2022