How long you have to live in 15 major US cities to make buying a home worth your money

source
SmartAsset

Should you rent or buy a home?

If you’re living in a major city, chances are the housing market is competitive – and with higher prices, fees, and closing costs, it may not make sense to buy unless you’re staying put for several years.

To give you an idea of just how long you have to stay in a city for it to be worth your money to buy, personal finance site SmartAsset calculated the breakeven point – the point at which the total costs of renting become greater than the total costs of buying – for 29 major cities.

SmartAsset compared the total costs of buying and renting for a household earning $100,000 a year. For the buying scenario, the research team assumed a mortgage rate of 4.5%, closing costs of $2,000, and a down payment of 20%.

Read the full methodology.

A shorter time to break even means it’s a better place to buy soon.

Read on to see how long it would take to break even in 15 major US cities cities. We’ve also included the average monthly mortgage payment, monthly rent, and home price, from SmartAsset’s report:


15. Pittsburgh

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Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
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Flickr / Matthew Paulson

Average monthly mortgage payment: $560

Average monthly rent: $1,069

Average home price: $138,235

Breakeven year: 4.3


14. Denver

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Denver, Colorado.
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Shutterstock

Average monthly mortgage payment: $1,114

Average monthly rent: $1,504

Average home price: $274,835

Breakeven year: 5.4


13. Phoenix

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Phoenix, Arizona.
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iStock / CraigStocks

Average monthly mortgage payment: $1,122

Average monthly rent: $1,410

Average home price: $276,744

Breakeven year: 5.7


12. Riverside

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Riverside, California.
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Shutterstock

Average monthly mortgage payment: $1,304

Average monthly rent: $1,582

Average home price: $321,665

Breakeven year: 5.8


11. Boston

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Boston, Massachusetts.
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Shutterstock

Average monthly mortgage payment: $1,563

Average monthly rent: $1,970

Average home price: $385,521

Breakeven year: 6.3


10. Washington, DC

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Washington, DC.
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Shutterstock

Average monthly mortgage payment: $1,909

Average monthly rent: $2,127

Average home price: $471,071

Breakeven year: 6.5


9. Portland

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Portland, Oregon.
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Shutterstock

Average monthly mortgage payment: $1,285

Average monthly rent: $1,428

Average home price: $317,085

Breakeven year: 6.9


7. Honolulu (TIE)

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Honolulu, Hawaii.
source
Shutterstock/Fiona Lin

Average monthly mortgage payment: $2,970

Average monthly rent: $2,682

Average home price: $732,637

Breakeven year: 8.6


7. San Diego (TIE)

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San Diego, California.
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Shutterstock

Average monthly mortgage payment: $2,167

Average monthly rent: $2,134

Average home price: $534,695

Breakeven year: 8.6


6. Los Angeles

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Los Angeles, California.
source
Shutterstock

Average monthly mortgage payment: $2,110

Average monthly rent: $2,061

Average home price: $520,559

Breakeven year: 8.8


5. Orange County

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Orange County, California.
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Shutterstock

Average monthly mortgage payment: $2,551

Average monthly rent: $2,300

Average home price: $629,280

Breakeven year: 10.8


4. San Francisco

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San Francisco, California.
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Shutterstock

Average monthly mortgage payment: $3,643

Average monthly rent: $2,915

Average home price: $898,706

Breakeven year: 14.6


3. Seattle

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Seattle, Washington.
source
Shutterstock

Average monthly mortgage payment: $1,751

Average monthly rent: $1,777

Average home price: $431,939

Breakeven year: 14.9


2. San Jose

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San Jose, California.
source
Shutterstock

Average monthly mortgage payment: $3,162

Average monthly rent: $2,503

Average home price: $779,975

Breakeven year: 16.7


1. New York City

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New York City, New York.
source
Spencer Platt/Getty

Average monthly mortgage payment: $2,399

Average monthly rent: $2,056

Average home price: $591,895

Breakeven year: 18.3