Slowing rents coupled with rising home prices and fluctuating mortgage rates are pushing many housing markets in the U.S. into rent territory, according to the latest national index.
The major drivers for this quarter's scores appear to be slowing rents relative to the costs of ownership and climbing mortgage rates. Thus, on the margin, more potential owners should favor renting and reinvesting in a portfolio of stocks and bonds as opposed to ownership. This shift should slightly lower the demand for ownership and contribute to the slowdown in housing prices.
Based on numbers from the end of the first quarter of 2017, the latest Beracha, Hardin & Johnson Buy vs. Rent (BH&J) Index follows recent S&P/Case-Shiller 20-City Home Price Index scores, which find an average annual increase in home prices of 5.78 percent, suggesting that prices, while increasing, are slowing. Higher BH&J scores favor renting over ownership in terms of wealth accumulation. All of this upward pressure in the trade-off between renting and buying should serve, in general, to slow property price appreciation around most of the country."
The scores show 11 of 23 cities in the index remain in buy territory. Another nine cities hover around a score of zero, suggesting a tossup between buying and renting in terms of wealth accumulation. The remaining three metro areas are in unseen territory in terms of both pricing and scores.