Turning your dream of buying a home into reality might seem pretty difficult these days, thanks in part to high mortgage rates and sale prices. But there are a few cities where taking on that mortgage — instead of paying monthly rent — is the smarter financial decision.
In a recent report, Redfin looked at the 50 largest cities in the U.S. and found the top three where it's still cheaper to buy than rent, meaning the average home has an estimated monthly mortgage cost lower than its estimated rental cost.
"Buying a home often makes more financial sense than renting if you can afford a down payment and monthly mortgage because you're building equity. When you own your home, your home pays you; when you rent, you and your home pay your landlord," Redfin Deputy Chief Economist Taylor Marr said in a press release.
"But buying isn't a feasible option for everyone. Some people move around a lot, so renting might make more sense because they won't be in their home long enough to build equity," Marr added.
"Many others simply don't have the money for a down payment — a situation that has become increasingly common due to rising mortgage rates and elevated home prices."
The report and ranking is based on an analysis assuming a 5% down payment and a 6.5% mortgage rate for U.S. single-family homes, condos/co-ops and townhouses across the 50 most populous cities.
- Detroit, Mich.
- Philadelphia, Pa.
- Cleveland, Ohio
In Detroit, the No. 1 city on the list, the typical home is 24% less expensive to buy than rent.
The average estimated monthly mortgage payment for homebuyers is $1,296, compared with an average estimated monthly rent of $1,697.
Detroit is the second-largest city in the Midwest after Chicago and is known as the center of the U.S. automobile industry. The biggest companies, General Motors, Ford, and Stellantis North America (Chrysler), all have headquarters in the area.
The second city on the list is Philadelphia, where the typical home is 7% less expensive to buy than rent.
Philadelphia is the second-most populous city in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions after New York City. It was originally the country's capital until 1800 and is home to some of the nation's leading centers for higher education and academic research.
Cleveland rounds out the list. The typical home is 4% less expensive to buy than rent in the Ohio city.
For homebuying to become less expensive than renting across the U.S., mortgage rates would need to fall.
The interest rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage in the U.S. is expected to drop to 5.25% by the end of this year, according to a forecast by the financial services website Bankrate.
That's 1.87 percentage points lower than the current rate and nearly 2 percentage points lower than 2022′s peak rate of 7.12%.
When considering whether or not it's time to buy, it's crucial to think about the amount of time you will stay in your new home, says David Steckel, director of strategic partnerships at Thumbtack and general contractor/owner of Alair Homes.
It should be at least five years.
"The reason why you want a five-year plan is it's very hard to recoup your investment in less than five years," he said.
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