There’s no doubt that home ownership is far more affordable today than it was before the bubble burst. Even so, it still makes sense to balance the short-run costs of owning versus renting with longer-run expected returns. Four of the five metros above — New York, San Francisco, San Jose, and L.A. — may be expensive because the market is pricing in predicted appreciation over the long-run. The reason prices are lower, and more affordable, in other metros likewise may be because the market expects lower rates of appreciation. There’s also the all-important question of ability to exit — whether and how quickly you can sell if you need to.
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