As home prices and the cost of rent hit all-time highs, many Americans are wondering what living arrangement is best for their financial future—to rent or buy? For many, neither looks particularly appealing.
As of May 2022, housing prices are up about 14% year-over-year and up 45% from May 2019. Combined with rising interest rates, the average mortgage payment for a homebuyer purchasing a median-priced home in June 2022 has increased a staggering 48% over last year.
Normally, in a climate like this, people priced out of the housing market would turn to the rental market as their best option, but that offers little relief. According to Redfin, rents are up about 15% year-over-year, and bidding wars for rentals are becoming increasingly common.
So which is better, renting or buying? The answer largely depends on your personal situation, and plenty of calculators on the internet offer to help you assess the question for yourself.
However, I find the traditional rent vs. buy analysis discussion and tools lacking, as they present a false dichotomy. Buying and renting aren’t your only options. “House hacking” is a third living arrangement and is a viable and attractive alternative for millions of Americans looking to save on their housing expenses.
To help demonstrate this point, I have made a free excel calculator that you can download here to run a personalized analysis. I’ve also conducted a thorough analysis of the largest 98 markets in the U.S. to measure the actual dollar impact of house hacking versus alternative living arrangements (traditional renting or buying).
Below I will provide substantial data to showcase the benefits of house hacking. I’ll start with a brief overview of house hacking, walk through how my analysis works, and provide data on some of the best markets in the country.
Intro to House Hacking
House hacking is another term for an “owner-occupied real estate investment.” Basically, the investor buys a rental…