With historically low interest rates and affordable home prices, many consumers have been able to save money by purchasing a home rather than renting.
That may still be true in some markets, but RealtyTrac, a real estate marketing service, says that appears to be shifting.
The company constantly analyzes 285 U.S. counties to compare the buy vs. rent equation. In recent months, it says the balance is clearly shifting away from buying and toward renting as home prices rise faster than rents.
Back to bubble levels
While rents are still rising, home prices are rising even faster in some markets. When the National Association of Realtor's reported June's existing home sales, it noted that the median existing-home price for all housing types was $236,400. Not only is that a 6.5% increase over June 2014, it's even higher than the peak median sales price set in July 2006, at the height of the housing bubble.
"Buyers have come back in force, leading to the strongest past two months in sales since early 2007," said Lawrence Yun, NAR's chief economist. "This wave of demand is being fueled by a year-plus of steady job growth and an improving economy that's giving more households the financial wherewithal and incentive to buy."
Fewer homes to buy
There are fewer homes to buy. Inventory fell in June for the fifth straight month, giving sellers the ability to hold out for a higher asking price. The biggest decline in inventory came in entry-level housing, the homes usually sought by first time buyers.
But with available homes shrinking in many markets, more consumers are remaining renters for a while. And according to RealtyTrac's numbers, that might not be such a bad thing.