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The Still Curious Case of Buy vs Rent

While the housing market has shown signs of overheating in recent months, it is still considerably cheaper to buy a house than it is to rent one in Greater Boston. This comes despite the Standard and Poor's Case/Shiller Home Index Report stating that nationally, home prices have increased 12.1% from a year ago, and locally in the Greater Boston area, have increased by 6.2% from the same period in 2012. These figures represent an increase that has been eight years in the making, with price levels not being seen to tip to this level since 2004.

And whether or not it's an investment property or a property you'll next call home,  real estate expert data aggregators such as Trulia and Zillow have found that on average, it's still about 35 percent cheaper to buy a house than it is to rent one. In fact, Massachusetts may surprise some since that significant own-to-rent discounts still exist, even in Boston's frothy housing market.

According to top real estate professionals' research, the average discount in the Boston metro area (also known as Suffolk County) is 29 percent, meaning it will cost home buyers on average 29 percent less per month to own versus rent. In Middlesex county, this discount is 33 percent, while the differences in lower-cost Peabody and Worcester are 43 percent and 45% percent, respectively. In farther away Springfield, the discount is even greater, pegged at 49 percent.

Suffolk Country represent the major metropolitan area of Massachusetts and its capital, Boston. Neighborhoods such as Back Bay, the South End, Beacon Hill, as well as Seaport District have different values in terms of discounts, as these are hotspots for properties that tend to have a wider array of prices. However, averaged out, the totality of Suffolk County has a discount rate of almost 30 percent, suggesting that though property prices are continually on the rise, there is still wiggle room for buyers to snap up properties before it (and if!) it plateaus to same level as renting.

Back Bay, Boston. Landmarked Neighborhood

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