The Definitive Guide to Buying Your First Home

10 of the best places to buy a home instead of renting

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More Americans are renting than at any point in the past 50 years, thanks in part to rising home prices. But there are a few parts of the country where it might make more financial sense to buy.

"The monthly costs of buying a home are cheaper than renting in 20% of counties" with populations over 100,000, according to Realtor.com's Q1 2019 Rent vs. Buy report, which compared the monthly median costs of both to the median incomes of people in 3,143 U.S. counties.

Overall, the report concludes, it's still more expensive to buy than rent in most parts of the country — and, in fact, rising home prices are outpacing rent increases, which could induce even more prospective buyers to keep renting instead. The median-priced home's monthly cost increased 6% from last year to $1,593, compared to a 4% increase in rent to $1,319 per month.

But that isn't the case everywhere. Below are 10 of the largest counties in the country, many in the Midwest and the South, where buying a home can actually be the better deal. Homes in these areas cost, on average, $120,000, or 60% less than the national median of $300,000, per the report.

Realtor.com also notes that, over the past year, prices increased in all of these places except Bay County, Michigan, so even here, buying may not be better for long.

10. Bay County, Michigan

Percent of income to buy: 12%
Percent of income to rent: 20%
Median listing price: $87,950
Median monthly rent price: $852

9. Wyandotte County, Kansas

Percent of income to buy: 20%
Percent of income to rent: 29%
Median listing price: $145,050
Median monthly rent price: $1,094

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8. Vigo County, Indiana

Percent of income to buy: 13%
Percent of income to rent: 22%
Median listing price: $99,050
Median monthly rent price: $874

7. Wayne County, Michigan

Percent of income to buy: 17%
Percent of income to rent: 27%
Median listing price: $117,550
Median monthly rent price: $1,065

6. Madison County, Indiana

Percent of income to buy: 10%
Percent of income to rent: 20%
Median listing price: $87,050
Median monthly rent price: $859

5. Delaware County, Indiana

Percent of income to buy: 11%
Percent of income to rent: 22%
Median listing price: $81,450
Median monthly rent price: $836

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4. Cumberland County, New Jersey

Percent of income to buy: 21%
Percent of income to rent: 32%
Median listing price: $139,950
Median monthly rent price: $1,392

3. Richmond County, Georgia

Percent of income to buy: 17%
Percent of income to rent: 28%
Median listing price: $117,750
Median monthly rent price: $1,038

2. Baltimore City, Maryland

Percent of income to buy: 23%
Percent of income to rent: 35%
Median listing price: $169,550
Median monthly rent price: $1,512

1. Clayton County, Georgia

Percent of income to buy: 17%
Percent of income to rent: 32%
Median listing price: $139,950
Median monthly rent price: $1,322

If you're interested in buying a home you can afford, you can also check out the best cities for millennials, and the best ones for happy workers, and consider the eight things you might want to give up if you're saving to buy a home.

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