May 18, 2016

Buying a Home in Charleston is a Better Bargain than Renting

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By Jennifer Riner, Trulia

Across the nation, buying is more affordable than renting. Households who move every seven years and put down at least 20 percent of the purchase price benefit from 34.8 percent less expensive housing payments, which dropped from 34.2 percent last year due to interest rate fluctuations.

But, some locales are even better for buyers than renters. For example, those searching for homes in Charleston face a median price of $210,794, whereas apartment hunters can find median rent at $1,525. The rent vs. buy calculation is negative 47.8 percent, meaning it’s almost half as expensive to buy a home than to rent, assuming households fall within the 25 percent tax bracket, put 20 percent down and plan at least seven years’ occupancy.

So, where are some of the neighborhoods in Charleston where buying outpaces renting? Consider the following three spots, where buying affordability is calculated with a 3.43 percent interest rate, a 20 percent down payment and assuming buyers fall within the 25 percent tax bracket.

Mount Pleasant

With four golf courses, waterfront ownership opportunities and many high-rated schools, it’s no surprise Mount Pleasant is one of the fastest growing areas in the country. The median home price is $378,000, based on 212 home sales in the first quarter of 2016. Compared to the median rent of $2,300 per month, it is 48 percent cheaper to buy in Mount Pleasant than to rent. Using Trulia’s rent vs. buy calculator, buying a median-priced home in Mount Pleasant would cost $1,152 per month averaged over time.

West Ashley

A more affordable option in the Charleston area, West Ashley’s median price is $195,900 and the median rent is $1,537 per month. Buying expenses come out to $594 per month, with figures averaged over time and discounted, making it 60 percent cheaper to buy in West Ashley than to rent an apartment or single-family home.

Isle of Palms

As a barrier island town, Isle of Palms is known as a laid-back vacation spot with high-rated resorts, activities and entertainment. Even more of a draw, buying in Isle of Palms is easier on the budget when compared with renting. Although the median sales price is a bit steeper at $582,500, the median rent comes in at $3,800 per month. Therefore, homes in Isle of Palms at the median price point are 52 percent cheaper than median-priced rentals, costing $1,737 per month averaged in mortgage payments.

Daniel Island

While Daniel Island real estate is also more expensive than the median price of the greater Charleston area at $479,900, the median rent comes in at $3,422 per month, again making buying a better deal than renting. Opting for a mortgage is 57 percent cheaper in Daniel Island than leasing. The buying costs average out to be $1,430 per month over time.

Prices may vary, but overall, Charleston real estate trends reveal a common denominator – buying is the way to go, as long as you have the power to put down 20 percent and you plan to stay in your home for at least seven years.

With interest rates at current lows, now is an opportune time to seriously consider your options with the help of a Charleston real estate professional.

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