Buy vs. Rent: Now Buying Is Cheaper in Big Cities

It may now be cheaper to buy than rent
It may now be cheaper to buy than rent

Credit Suisse is putting numbers to something we already suspect: The gap between the cost of owning and renting an apartment has halved in the past two years. In some locations, it's even cheaper to rent an apartment than to own.

In a research report, the firm says the percentage of median household income needed to pay the mortgage on a median-priced home is at a 30-year low, thanks to record low mortgage rates and cheap home prices. It singles out Washington, D.C., California's Inland Empire, Las Vegas and Phoenix as areas where it's cheaper to own than rent.