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Trulia’s top ten cities to buy versus rent and rent versus buy

Best cities to buy and rent

Real estate search site has analyzed the largest 50 cities in America, calculating the price-to-rent ratio comparing the average list price in each city with the average rent for two bedroom apartments, townhomes and condos, and naming the top 10 cities best for buying and top 10 for renting.

The analysis is based on listings on and took into account costs of home ownership (including “mortgage principal and interest, property taxes, hazard insurance, closing costs at time of purchase and ongoing HOA dues and private mortgage insurance, where applicable. Total costs of homeownership include an offset for the tax advantages of homeownership, including mortgage interest, property tax and closing cost deductions”) as well as costs of renting (rent as well as renter’s insurance).

According to Trulia’s Social Media Guru, Rudy Bachraty, “we did not include appreciation or depreciation. The market is too unstable to predict right now. This is the current snapshot if you were to buy or rent today.”

Top 10 cities to buy vs. rent

  1. Minneapolis, MN
  2. Arlington, TX
  3. Miami, FL
  4. Fresno, CA
  5. San Antonio, TX
  6. Mesa, AZ
  7. Jacksonville, FL
  8. Phoenix, AZ
  9. El Paso, TX
  10. Las Vegas, NV

Top 10 cities to rent vs. buy

  1. New York, NY
  2. Omaha, NE
  3. Seattle, WA
  4. Portland, OR
  5. San Francisco, CA
  6. Oklahoma City, OK
  7. Kansas City, MO
  8. San Diego, CA
  9. Cleveland, OH
  10. Dallas, TX

Why some cities beat out others

“At the peak of the real estate bubble, cities like Miami, Phoenix and Las Vegas were not affordable for many. Now the opposite is true,” said Pete Flint, co-founder and CEO of Trulia. “Home sellers in these hard hit areas are forced to lower their prices to compete with all the foreclosures on the market. As a result, these unattainable markets are so affordable it makes better financial sense to buy than rent.”

Trulia offers a rent versus buy calculator on their website (click here) and plan on publishing the rent vs. buy city rankings in the future, most likely each quarter. To download the top 50 cities comparing renting versus owning, click here.

CC Licensed image courtesy of isherwoodchris via

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Lani is the COO and News Director at The American Genius, has co-authored a book, co-founded BASHH, Austin Digital Jobs, Remote Digital Jobs, and is a seasoned business writer and editorialist with a penchant for the irreverent.



  1. Greg Barnhouse

    June 3, 2010 at 10:44 pm

    OK, Dallas in the top 10 of Rent vs Buy . . . If that is truly comparing 2 bedroom apartments, townhomes and condos, and if it is only in Dallas, as in near Downtown Dallas, then maybe this dataset is reliable. If it is the entire market for the Dallas Area residential market, then I submit this dataset is suspect at best.

    I can see markets like Fresno, Miami, Mesa and Phoenix, AZ in the buy vs rent category as they were obviously “pounded” the last few years. But, Dallas? Dalas has held its ground fairly well during the downturn.

    It would be great if Trulia would qualify their market data for improved granularity . . .

  2. Joe Loomer

    June 4, 2010 at 6:37 am

    Ditto what Greg said at the end of his comments. I’m not a big fan of Trulia or Zillow “reports.” Zillow’s own explanation of their “Zestimates” proposes that their “A” data properties only have a 7.5% margin of error. Anywhoo, I’m surprised there aren’t more Southern locales on the list with prices the way they are in the Atlanta area.

  3. Roscoe Properties

    June 4, 2010 at 3:00 pm

    I personally thought Dallas would be higher in the rankings regarding rent vs buy.

  4. San Diego Real Estate

    July 3, 2010 at 2:40 pm

    San Diego homes are at their most affordable prices in decades, yet the research says rent instead of buy? I guess there will be a lot of eternal renters who follow that advice.

  5. Kevin Tomlinson

    September 15, 2010 at 7:39 pm

    Exactly how does “Trulia” know?

  6. Allan Kleer

    October 14, 2010 at 10:46 pm

    I use recent and REAL rental and sales examples from Miami Beach’s waterfront condo buildings (The Continuum, The Murano Grande, Icon South Beach, The Bentley Bay, and The Floridian) to analyze South Beach’s rent vs. Buy market Index as outlined by Trulia.

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