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DS News December 2022

DSNews delivers stories, ideas, links, companies, people, events, and videos impacting the mortgage default servicing industry.

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Page 35 of 99

34 CITIES WHERE RENTING IS MORE ECONOMICAL THAN BUYING Renting is a less-expensive option for most Americans. Location is likely to be a deter- mining factor when deciding whether to sign a lease or a mortgage. at's because cost is one of the biggest considerations, and that varies among cities. So the researchers at LendingTree, using U.S. Census data, compared the price of renting versus buying in 50 major metropolitan areas. Taking what the team found into consider- ation, analyst Jacob Channel offers suggestions about spotting a potential homebuyer versus someone for whom renting might be the better option. For any homeowner still paying off a mort- gage, renting is likely cheaper than owning in each of the nation's 50 largest metros. On average, the difference between median gross rent and median housing-related costs for homes with a mortgage is $564 a month. Channel notes that this is lower nation- wide than in 2019 when renters paid some $593 less monthly. "A combination of factors, including re- cord-low interest rates that offset rising home prices, likely contribute to this smaller gap," he notes. In San Jose, California; New York; and San Francisco, the median monthly rent is about $1,262 less than the median monthly costs for a homeowner. at is the widest cost gap the researchers found, and unlike most of the cities examined, the gap in those areas has widened since 2019, when the difference was $1,221. e narrowest expense gap was found in Orlando, Florida; Phoenix; and Jacksonville, Florida. In those cities, it is still about $262 per month less to rent than to own, all housing costs considered, on average. In a circumstance where the homebuyer does not have a current mortgage—say they have paid off the home, paid cash for the home, or are not a previous homeowner—San Jose, San Francisco, and San Diego show the widest gap, and Milwaukee, Cleveland, and Buffalo show the narrowest. e article on LendingTree.com breaks down the full ranking. e LendingTree author points out that renting might be the better option for someone who doesn't plan on staying in one area for a long time or is looking for short-term savings. He adds, "On the other hand, buying a home can be a valuable investment that turns out to be cheaper in the long term." "e ability to find affordable housing in the current market is seen as a major challenge facing those transitioning from active duty," said Stacy Walker, Director, Housing & Com- munity Outreach for Freddie Mac. "e great news is that there are outstanding housing benefits available to veterans and the majority of those who want to buy a home plan to use them." "To aid that effort, Freddie Mac is focused on education and outreach through a VA Home Loans guide and a CreditSmart [certified] financial education program tailored specifically for members of the military and veterans." In addition, Freddie Mac has partnered with the nonprofit Soldier On, which has committed itself to ending veteran home- lessness and to better engage with veterans using financial materials and tailored outreach programs. "e transition to civilian life can be a challenge," said David Ramirez, Home and Credit Financial Education Program Manager for Soldier On. "e CreditSmart curriculum is helping us create a culture of financial readi- ness that provides veterans with the tools they need to be successful in their civilian life." Other key findings include: » Homeownership rates among those surveyed are disproportionately high at 73%, compared with 65% for the general population (according to the U.S. Census Bureau). » Of those surveyed, 92% are aware of VA Home Loans. 87% of active-duty respondents are aware of the benefit. » Just 57% of current homeowners who responded to the poll are aware of the benefits of a VA Home Loan and have used it to buy a home in the past. » Of those who currently rent, more than 8 in 10 who plan to purchase a home intend to use a VA Home Loan to do so. Nine in 10 active-duty respondents plan to use the benefit. » Eighty percent of those who used a VA Home Loan had a favorable experience, citing the lack of a down payment and low closing costs as key features of the mortgage product. Freddie Mac is focused on education and outreach through a VA Home Loans guide and a CreditSmart [certified] financial education program tailored specifically for members of the military and veterans. Journal

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