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Trulia Rent versus Buy Index reveals homeownership to be most advantageous



Q2 Rent versus Buy

Realtors, are you keeping up with what real estate search websites are telling your consumers? Do you know if your city appears as a rent-favorable city over a buy-favorable city? Today, announced their second quarter “Rent V Buy Index” (RVB) which is a study of the 50 largest cities. Last quarter, the RVB Index revealed that in 72% of the largest 50 cities, it was more advantageous to buy than rent a two bedroom home.

This quarter, Trulia states that in all but three cities, it is more advantageous to buy than rent, putting the current RVB Index at 80%. Good news for Realtors!

Findings lean toward homeownership

Renting is on the rise but so are rents along with pending home sales and new home sales- the industry is slowly but surely gearing back up amidst a double dip in home pricing and a potential for more foreclosures to hit the market after banks resume foreclosing after hitting the pause button to deal with negotiating with the government about their wrongful foreclosures.

“With home prices nearing a double dip and more foreclosures expected to flood the housing market over the next two years, the decision between renting and buying a home across most of the country has clearly moved in favor of buying,” says Ken Shuman, Head of Communications at Trulia. “As we head into the summer buying season, those looking to buy a home should be encouraged by improvements in the market and feel optimistic about their chances of finding an affordable home, much more so than in previous years.”

Check out the interactive mapping tool

Last quarter, we introduced you to the RVB interactive tool that lets you (and consumers) look at a variety of factors that impact whether your city is ripe for buying or renting. We recommend taking time to look at all the factors in your city.

Full press release:

Update 12:36pm CST 04.28.2011: press release edited to reflect Trulia’s current public press release. Some wording was different.

April 28, 2011 06:00 ET

Trulia Reveals Trend Towards Homeownership Where Affordability to Buy Versus Rent Extends to Almost Four in Five Major U.S. Cities

Rent vs. Buy Decision in Coastal Cities — Los Angeles, Seattle, Boston, San Francisco, Portland and Oakland — Depends Less on Home Affordability, More on Personal Finances

SAN FRANCISCO, CA–(Marketwire – Apr 28, 2011) – Trulia today released its Q2 2011 Rent vs. Buy Index, which compares the cost of buying and renting a two-bedroom apartment, condominium or townhouse in the 50 largest1 U.S. cities. Since last quarter, buying a home has become more affordable than renting in nearly four out of five (80 percent) major cities; only in New York, Fort Worth and Kansas City was renting a less costly option than buying.


  • Falling Prices and Rising Rents Make Homes More Affordable in Q2 Versus Q1: Current market conditions consisting of steadily rising rents, falling home prices and low mortgage rates have tipped the rent versus buy scale in favor of homeownership.
    • Buying a Home Beats Renting in Las Vegas, Phoenix and Arlington
# City State Price:Rent Ratio
Q2 2011
Price:Rent Ratio
Q1 2011
Q-to-Q % Change
1 Las Vegas NV 6 6 -1%
2 Phoenix AZ 7 8 -9%
3 Arlington TX 7 7 2%
4 Fresno CA 8 11 -30%
5 Miami FL 8 6 22%
6 Mesa AZ 8 8 -1%
    • Renting Reigns Supreme Over Buying in New York, Fort Worth and Kansas
# City State Price:Rent Ratio
Q2 2011
Price:Rent Ratio
Q1 2011
Q-to-Q % Change
1 New York NY 39 31 27%
2 Fort Worth TX 30 19 57%
3 Kansas City MO 22 21 4%
4 Los Angeles CA 20 20 3%
5 Memphis TN 20 20 -4%
6 Seattle WA 19 24 -20%
    • Price:Rent Ratios in Fresno, Omaha and San Jose Experience Biggest Quarter-Over-Quarter Movement in Favor of Homeownership
# City State Price:RentRatio
Q2 2011
Q1 2011
Q-to-Q % Change
1 Fresno CA 8 11 -30%
2 Omaha NE 10 13 -25%
3 San Jose CA 12 15 -21%
4 Seattle WA 19 24 -20%
5 Cleveland OH 14 17 -15%
6 Detroit MI 10 12 -15%
  • Consumers Face Difficult Decision in Coastal Cities: Aspiring homeowners in Los Angeles, Seattle, Boston, San Francisco, Portland and Oakland face a bigger challenge when it comes to deciding between renting and buying a home. The cost of homeownership in these coastal cities continues to be more expensive than renting; however, it may make more financial sense to buy depending on the situation.
# City State Rent-to-Buy Ratio
Q2 2011
Rent-to-Buy Ratio
Q1 2011
Q-to-Q % Change
1 Los Angeles CA 20 20 3%
2 Seattle WA 19 24 -25%
3 Boston MA 19 17 14%
4 San Francisco CA 19 21 -7%
5 Portland OR 18 18 1%
6 Oakland CA 16 18 -13%


  • “With home prices nearing a double dip and more foreclosures expected to flood the housing market over the next two years, the decision between renting and buying a home across most of the country has clearly moved in favor of buying,” says Ken Shuman, Head of Communications at Trulia. “As we head into the summer buying season, those looking to buy a home should be encouraged by improvements in the market and feel optimistic about their chances of finding an affordable home, much more so than in previous years.”
  • “Aspiring homeowners should focus their energies on locking down a low mortgage rate sooner than later. While home prices are unlikely to return to pre-crash levels, today’s low interest rates will likely rise thanks to inflation and spikes in the Fed rates,” notes Shuman. “As the government winds down its role in the mortgage markets higher mortgage interest rates will be inevitable.”


  • To view an interactive map illustrating Trulia’s Q2 2011 Rent vs. Buy findings, click here.
  • To view a full list of Rent vs. Buy Index rankings for the 50 largest U.S. cities, click here.
  • To view a slideshow of the findings, click here.
  • To check out Trulia’s current and archived industry reports and consumer surveys, click here.

Trulia calculated the Q2 2011 price-to-rent ratios for the 50 largest U.S. cities using the median list price compared with the median rent on two-bedroom apartments, condominiums and townhomes listed on as of April 1, 2011. To view the complete methodology including sample price-to-rent ratio calculation, interpretation key and definitions, click here.

Trulia is the fastest growing online real estate resource, empowering buyers, seller and renters with smarter tools to help them find the right home. Trulia helps you find the home that best meets your specific needs. Our smart and personalized real estate search experience brings together local information, community insights, market data and national listings all in one place. Trulia is headquartered in downtown San Francisco and is backed by Accel Partners and Sequoia Capital.

1 Based on the U.S. Census’ 2009 population estimates

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Economic News

Is the real estate industry endorsing Carson’s nomination to HUD?

(BUSINESS NEWS) Ben Carson’s initial appointment to HUD was controversial given his lack of experience in housing, but what is the pulse now?



NAR strongly backs Dr. Carson’s nomination

When President-Elect Donald Trump put forth Dr. Ben Carson’s name as the nominee for Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, NAR President William E. Brown said, “While we’ve made great strides in recent years, far more can be done to put the dream of homeownership in reach for more Americans.”

At the time of nomination, the National Association of Realtors (the largest trade organization in the nation) offered a positive tone regarding Dr. Carson and said the industry looks forward to working with him. But does that hold true today?

The confirmation hearings yesterday were far less controversial than one would expect, especially in light of how many initially reacted to his nomination. Given his lack of experience in housing, questions seemed to often center around protecting the LGBT community and veterans, both of which he pledged to support.

In fact, Dr. Carson said the Fair Housing Act is “one of the best pieces of legislation we’ve ever had in this country,” promising to issue a “world-class plan” for housing upon his confirmation…

>>>>>Click to continue reading…<<<<<


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Economic News

Job openings hit 14-year high, signaling economic improvement

The volume of job openings is improving, but not across all industries. The overall economy is improving, but not evenly across all career paths.



young executives

job openings

Job openings hit a high point

To understand the overall business climate, the U.S. Labor Department studies employment, today releasing data specific to job vacancies. According to the department’s Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLT) for April, job openings rose to 5.38 million, the highest seen since December 2000, and a significant jump from March’s 5.11 million vacancies. Although a lagging indicator, it shows strength in the labor market.

The Labor Department reports that the number of hires in April fell to 5 million, which indicates a weak point in the strong report, and although the volume remains near recent highs, this indicates a talent gap and highlights the number of people who have left the labor market and given up on looking for a job.

Good news, bad news, depending on your profession

That said, another recent Department report notes that employers added 221,000 jobs in April and 280,000 in May, but the additions are not evenly spread across industries. Construction jobs rose in April, but dipped in professional and business services, hospitality, trade, and transportation utilities. In other words, white collar jobs are down, blue collar jobs are up, which is good or bad news depending on your profession.

Additionally, the volume of people quitting their jobs was 2.7 million in April compared to the seven-year high of 2.8 million in March. Economists follow this number as a metric for gauging employee confidence in finding their next job.

What’s next

If you’re in the market for a job, there are an increasing number of openings, so your chance of getting hired is improving, but there is a caveat – not all industries are enjoying improvement.

If you’re hiring talent, you’ll still get endless resumes, but there appears to be a growing talent gap for non-labor jobs, so you’re not alone in struggling to find the right candidate.

Economists suspect the jobs market will continue to improve as a whole, but this data does not pertain to every industry.


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Economic News

Gas prices are down, so are gas taxes about to go up?

Do low gas prices mean higher gas taxes are on the way? Budgeting for 2015 just got a bit more complicated, if some politicians have their way.



gas tax


Gas taxes and your bottom line

Many industries rely heavily on time in their vehicle, not just truck drivers and delivery trucks. Sales professionals hop in their vehicles throughout the day, as do many other types of professionals (service providers like plumbers, and so forth). For that reason, gas prices and taxes are a relevant line item that must be budgeted for 2015, but with politicians making the rounds to push for higher gas taxes, budgeting becomes more complicated.

Gas prices are down roughly 50 cents per gallon compared to a year ago, which some analysts say have contributed to more money in consumers’ pockets. Some believe that this will improve holiday sales, but others believe the timing is just right to increase federal taxes on gas. The current tax on gas is 18.40 cents per gallon, and on diesel are 24.40 cents per gallon.


Supporters and opponents are polar opposites

Supporters argue as follows: gas prices are low, so it won’t hurt to increase federal gas taxes, in fact, those funds must go toward improving our infrastructure, which in the long run, saves Americans money because smoother roads mean better gas mileage and less congestion.

Gas taxes have long been a polarizing concept, and despite lowered gas prices, the controversial nature of the taxes have not diminished.

While some are pushing for complete abolition of federal gas taxes, others, like former Pennsylvania Governor, Ed Rendell (D) tell CNBC, “Say that cost the average driver $130 a year. They would get a return on that investment” in safer roads and increased quality of life, he added.

The Washington Post‘s Chris Mooney points out that federal gas taxes have been “stuck” at 18 cents for over 20 years, last raised when gas was barely a dollar a gallon and that the tax must increase not only to improve the infrastructure, but to “green” our behavior, and help our nation find tax reform compromise.

Is a gas tax politically plausible?

Mooney writes, “So, this is not an argument that a gas tax raise is politically plausible — any more than a economically efficient tax on carbon would be. It’s merely a suggestion that — ignoring politics — it might be a pretty good idea.”

Rendell noted, “The World Economic Forum, 10 years ago, rated us the best infrastructure in the world,” adding that we “need to do something for our infrastructure, not in a one or two year period, but over a decade.”

Others would note that this rating has not crumbled in just a few years, that despite many bridges and roads in need of repair, our infrastructure is still superior to even the most civilized nations.

Regardless of the reasons, most believe that Congress won’t touch this issue with a ten-foot pole, especially leading up to another Presidential campaign season starting next year.

“I think it’s too toxic and continues to be too toxic,” Steve LaTourette (the former Republican congressman best known for his close friendship with his fellow Ohioan, Speaker John Boehner) tells The Atlantic. “I see no political will to get this done.”

Whether the time is fortuitous or not, and regardless of the positive side effects, many point to a fear of voters’ retaliation against any politician siding with a gas hike, so this matter going any further than the proposal stage is unlikely.

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