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NYTimes gives consumers a rent vs. buy calculator – is it accurate?

New York Times calculator

The New York Times recently updated their “is it better to buy or rent?” interactive calculator to include advanced settings. You should know about this calculator as a real estate professional so you are fully aware of what consumers are seeing and what tools they are using before they ever pick up the phone to call you or your office.

NYT says that determining if buying or renting is superior “depends on many factors, particularly how fast prices and rents rise and how long [a person] stays in [their] home.”

The calculator asks not only for basic mortgage and tax info but advanced settings such as rate of return on investments, condo or common fees, utilities and more. The interactive calculator then graphs at what point renting or buying is better, and surprisingly, it proves the value of homeownership in many cases which of course is good for the real estate industry.

Test it for your own home – does it seem to be accurate?

CC Licensed image courtesy of trekkyandy via

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Tara Steele is the News Director at The American Genius, covering entrepreneur, real estate, technology news and everything in between. If you'd like to reach Tara with a question, comment, press release or hot news tip, simply click the link below.



  1. Sasha Farmer

    May 24, 2010 at 11:39 am

    It worked fairly well on my personal residence, but I just ran it for a couple of other homes that I’m pricing out for first time buyers, and I would say it’s a little skewed towards renting.

    What it can’t take into account is the unquantifiable data for those who really want to own their own home, have no landlord looming over them, make improvements, paint, have unbridled ability to own pets, etc. I have folks who will likely happily buy no matter how heavily skewed it is in the opposite direction!

    Thanks for pointing this out, I’m sure it will come up in conversation soon!

  2. Artur | inPhoenix

    May 24, 2010 at 1:01 pm

    The difficult part is in establishing future rent growth and appreciation rates.

    Assuming we get that right, it seems accurate enough.

    In Phoenix the higher the price of the home the more sense it makes to rent in the short term and even up to 5 years where as it’s usually less expensive to buy if you plan on living in a home at least 3+ years.

  3. Stephanie Crawford

    May 24, 2010 at 9:56 pm

    When I run my personal home is says that I would have to keep my home for 6 years to make it worth purchasing. That’s kinda funny considering I’ve already had a 20% property value increase in 2.5 years. And my mortgage payment has been $250 less than rent would have been on the same property all this time!?!?

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