Buying cheaper than renting in 3 of 4 housing markets

Monthly house payment on a median-priced home is more affordable than the monthly fair market rent on a three-bedroom property in 76% of the U.S. counties included in the analysis, according to the latest report from RealtyTrac.

The report also ranked the markets with the best — and worst — potential returns on residential rental properties from a real estate investor perspective along with the most affordable — and least affordable — markets for renting from a renter perspective.

The analysis included 461 counties nationwide with a population of at least 100,000 and sufficient home price, income and rental data. The combined population in the 461 counties analyzed was 217 million. On average across all 461 counties, fair market rents as set by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development represented 28% of the estimated median household income, while monthly house payments on a median-priced home — with a 10% down payment and including property taxes, home insurance and mortgage insurance — represented 24% of the estimated median income.