Buying Is Now 26.3% Cheaper Than Renting in the US

Real Estate News

Buying Is Now 26.3% Cheaper Than Renting in the US | Keeping Current Matters

The results of the latest Rent vs. Buy Report from Trulia show that homeownership remains cheaper than renting, with a traditional 30-year fixed rate mortgage, in 98 of the 100 largest metro areas in the United States.

In the six years that Trulia has conducted this study, this is the first time that it was cheaper to rent than buy in any of the metropolitan areas.

It’s no surprise, however, that those two metros are San Jose and San Francisco, CA, where median home prices have jumped to over $1 million dollars this year. Home values in San Jose have risen 29% in the last year, while rents have remained relatively unchanged.

For the 98 metros where homeownership wins out, 97 of them show a double-digit advantage when buying. The range is an average of 2.0% less expensive in Honolulu (HI), all the way up to 48.9% in Detroit (MI), and 26.3% nationwide!

Below is a map of the 100 metros that were studied. The darker the blue dot on the metro, the cheaper it is to buy there.

Buying Is Now 26.3% Cheaper Than Renting in the US | Keeping Current Matters

In order to calculate the true cost of renting vs. buying, Trulia includes all assumed renting costs, including one-time costs (like security deposits), and compares them to the monthly costs of owning a home (insurance, mortgage payments, taxes, and maintenance) including one-time costs (down payments, closing costs, sale proceeds). They also assume that households stay in their home for seven years, put down a 20% down payment, and take out a 30-year fixed rate mortgage. The full methodology is included with the study results here.

Below is a chart created with the data from the last six years of the study, showing the impact of the median home price, rental price, and 30-year fixed rate interest rate used to calculate the ‘cheaper to buy’ metric.

Buying Is Now 26.3% Cheaper Than Renting in the US | Keeping Current Matters

In 2016, when buying was 41.3% less expensive than renting, the average mortgage rate was the driving force behind the difference. Rates this year are the highest they have been in six years which has narrowed the gap, all while home price appreciation has also been driven up by a lack of homes for sale.

Cheryl Young, Trulia’s Chief Economist, had this to say,

“One point deserves emphasizing: The ultra-costly San Francisco Bay Area is not a harbinger for the nation as a whole. While renting may outweigh buying in San Jose and San Francisco, it is unlikely that renting will tip the scales nationally anytime soon.”

Bottom Line

Homeownership provides many benefits beyond the financial ones. If you are one of the many renters out there who would like to evaluate your ability to buy this year, meet with a local real estate professional who can help you find your dream home.


Amy Pearson

Real Estate Broker

Baird & Warner – Gold Coast

Calavera Opened in West Town

Local Business, Neighborhood News

I get excited every time a new restaurant on Chicago Avenue opens and I have been waiting for this restaurant to open for awhile. I finally noticed that it opened last week.   Calavera is a new Mexican restaurant is and it opened last Thursday in the West Town neighborhood of Chicago.

The word calavera most often refers to the decorative skulls associated with the celebration of Día de los Muertos, (Day of the Dead) an annual Mexican tradition that honors the deceased.

I stopped by for a late lunch and was able to sample a few items on their menu.  They offer several different appetizers that each have their unique twist and all are homemade.  I tried the Queso Fundido  for an appetizer per our server’s recommendation and it was tasty!  This yummy starter is melted cheese, chorizo and onions served with chips and tortillas. They also have homemade salsas on the table that you can add to your dish to kick up the spice.


The Queso Fundido appetizer


For the main course I had the Steak Fajitas and my husband had the Pescado a la Deracruzana which is grilled tilapila in a salsa sauce with rice. I tried both dishes and my favorite was the steak fajitas.


Pictured is the grilled tilapia dish on the top and the Steak Fajitas dish.

This restaurant is a nice addition to the neighborhood and I recommend giving it a try yourself because I know I will be back again for more tasty Mexican food!
Calavera – 1438 W. Chicago Ave.
Serves lunch and dinner and will be open from 10 a.m.- 10 p.m. daily


Amy Pearson

Real Estate Broker

Baird & Warner – Gold Coast

4 Reasons Why We Are Not Heading Toward Another Housing Bubble

Real Estate News

4 Reasons Why We Are Not Heading Toward Another Housing Bubble | Keeping Current Matters

With home prices continuing to appreciate above historic levels, some are concerned that we may be heading for another housing ‘boom & bust.’ It is important to remember, however, that today’s market is quite different than the bubble market of twelve years ago.

Here are four key metrics that will explain why:

    1. Home Prices
    2. Mortgage Standards
    3. Foreclosure Rates
    4. Housing Affordability


There is no doubt that home prices have reached 2006 levels in many markets across the country. However, after more than a decade, home prices should be much higher based on inflation alone.

Last week, CoreLogic reported that,

“The inflation-adjusted U.S. median sale price in June 2006 was $247,110 (or $199,899 in 2006 dollars), compared with $213,400 in March 2018.” (This is the latest data available.)


Many are concerned that lending institutions are again easing standards to a level that helped create the last housing bubble. However, there is proof that today’s standards are nowhere near as lenient as they were leading up to the crash.

The Urban Institute’s Housing Finance Policy Center issues a monthly index which,

“…measures the percentage of home purchase loans that are likely to default—that is, go unpaid for more than 90 days past their due date. A lower HCAI indicates that lenders are unwilling to tolerate defaults and are imposing tighter lending standards, making it harder to get a loan. A higher HCAI indicates that lenders are willing to tolerate defaults and are taking more risks, making it easier to get a loan.”

Their July Housing Credit Availability Index revealed:

“Significant space remains to safely expand the credit box. If the current default risk was doubled across all channels, risk would still be well within the pre-crisis standard of 12.5 percent from 2001 to 2003 for the whole mortgage market.”


A major cause of the housing crash last decade was the number of foreclosures that hit the market. They not only increased the supply of homes for sale but were also being sold at 20-50% discounts. Foreclosures helped drive down all home values.

Today, foreclosure numbers are lower than they were before the housing boom. Here are the number of consumers with new foreclosures according to the Federal Reserve’s most recent Household Debt and Credit Report:

  • 2003: 203,320 (earliest reported numbers)
  • 2009: 566,180 (at the valley of the crash)
  • Today: 76,480

Foreclosures today are less than 40% of what they were in 2003.


Contrary to many headlines, home affordability is better now than it was prior to the last housing boom. In the same article referenced in #1, CoreLogic revealed that in the vast majority of markets, “the inflation-adjusted, principal-and-interest mortgage payments that homebuyers have committed to this year remain much lower than their pre-crisis peaks.”

They went on to explain:

“The main reason the typical mortgage payment remains well below record levels in most of the country is that the average mortgage rate back in June 2006, when the U.S. typical mortgage payment peaked, was about 6.7 percent, compared with an average mortgage rate of about 4.4 percent in March 2018.”

The “price” of a home may be higher, but the “cost” is still below historic norms.

Bottom Line

After using these four key housing metrics to compare today to last decade, we can see that the current market is not anything like that bubble market.

Amy Pearson

Real Estate Broker

Baird & Warner – Gold Coast

Interest Rates & Costs Across Time

Real Estate News

Cost Across Time [INFOGRAPHIC] | Keeping Current Matters

Some Highlights:

  • With interest rates still around 4.5%, now is a great time to look back at where rates have been over the last 40 years.
  • Rates are projected to climb to 5.1% by this time next year according to Freddie Mac.
  • The impact your interest rate makes on your monthly mortgage cost is significant!
  • Lock in a low rate now while you can!

Amy Pearson

Real Estate Broker

Baird & Warner – Gold Coast

Happy Place Chicago

Neighborhood News

Amy Pearson, realtor and neighborhood expert in River West, recently visited Happy Place and she gives a tour of the pop-up experience through this video.
The Happy Place is a massive pop-up experience is filled with larger than life size installations, multi-sensory immersive rooms, and dozens of moments curated to Capture Your Happy. Happy Place Chicago is located in the River West neighborhood of Chicago and it runs June 28 – August 6th.

Happy Place – 1004 N Elston Ave, Chicago, IL 60642

Amy Pearson

Real Estate Broker

Baird & Warner – Gold Coast


July Chicago Real Estate Newsletter

Real Estate News


Does Tight Inventory Mean Offers Need To Be Over Asking?

I get asked this question all the time, and it’s not an easy answer. Whether you’re a buyer or a seller, it can be hard to know exactly how to gain an edge when inventory’s limited.

To read the full newsletter including what to do to survive in today’s frenzied market, the history of Printer’s Row neighborhood and featured properties, click here .

Amy Pearson

Real Estate Broker

Baird & Warner – Gold Coast

You DO NOT Need 20% Down to Buy Your Home NOW!

Real Estate News

You DO NOT Need 20% Down to Buy Your Home NOW! | Keeping Current Matters

The Aspiring Home Buyers Profile from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) found that the American public is still somewhat confused about what is required to qualify for a home mortgage loan in today’s housing market. The results of the survey show that the main reason why non-homeowners do not own their own homes is because they believe that they cannot afford them.

This brings us to two major misconceptions that we want to address today.

1. Down Payment

A recent survey by Laurel Road, the National Online Lender and FDIC-Insured Bank, revealed that consumers overestimate the down payment funds needed to qualify for a home loan.

According to the survey, 53% of Americans who plan to buy or have already bought a home admit to their concerns about their ability to afford a home in the current market. In addition, 46% are currently unfamiliar with alternative down payment options, and 46% of millennials do not feel confident that they could currently afford a 20% down payment.

What these people don’t realize, however, is that there are many loans written with down payments of 3% or less.

Many renters may actually be able to enter the housing market sooner than they ever imagined with new programs that have emerged allowing less cash out of pocket.

2. FICO®Scores

An Ipsos survey revealed that 62% of respondents believe they need excellent credit to buy a home, with 43% thinking a “good credit score” is over 780. In actuality, the average FICO® scores for approved conventional and FHA mortgages are much lower.

The average conventional loan closed in May had a credit score of 753, while FHA mortgages closed with an average score of 676. The average across all loans closed in May was 724. The chart below shows the distribution of FICO® Scores for all loans approved in May.

You DO NOT Need 20% Down to Buy Your Home NOW! | Keeping Current Matters

Bottom Line

If you are a prospective buyer who is ‘ready’ and ‘willing’ to act now, but you are not sure if you are ‘able’ to, sit down with a professional who can help you understand your true options today.

Amy Pearson

Real Estate Broker

Baird & Warner – Gold Coast

Tips for Buying Your First Rental Property

Real Estate News


After watching HGTV programming, you may have thought about buying your first rental property.  They make it look easy on TV but there are several things that you need to think about before jumping into owning a rental property.

How Handy are you?

When you become a landlord of a rental property, you will be getting calls from your tenant with requests to fix things from a running toilet to a broken dishwasher.  You could call your local handy man to make these repairs but, it will eat into your profits.

flat lay photography of hand tools

Photo by suntorn somtong on

Don’t Buy A Fixer Upper

You may be thinking that you could purchase a bargain property and quickly upgrade the property and turn it into a rental property. But if this is your first rental property, that’s probably a bad idea. Unless you have a contractor who does quality work on the cheap – or you’re skilled at large-scale home improvements – you’re likely to pay too much to renovate. Instead, look to buy a home that is priced below the market and that needs mostly minor repairs.

Calculate Operating Expenses

Overall, operating expenses on your new property will be between 35% and 80% percent of your gross operating income. If you charge $1,500 for rent and your expenses come in at $600 per month, you’re at 40%.

Determine Your ROI

For every dollar you invest, what is your return on that dollar?  A 6% return in your first year as a landlord is considered healthy, especially given that your ROI number should rise over time.

Purchase Low-Cost Rental Property

The more expensive and larger the property, the higher your ongoing expenses will be. Some experts recommend starting with a $150,000 home.  In some real estate markets, you may think that it would be hard to find a rental property at that price. You might want to consider a studio condo or an up and coming neighborhood to find an affordable first-time rental property.

Location, Location, Location

Look for low property taxes, a neighborhood with low crime rates, an area with a growing job market and plenty of amenities like parks, malls, restaurants and movie theaters. Another area to consider for your rental property, would be near a college or University where there is a demand for rental properties.

Your first rental property isn’t going to produce a large monthly paycheck for a while and picking the wrong property could be a costly mistake. If you are interested in searching for a great investment property, I can help you with finding the right property from a single condo purchase to a multi-unit building. Curious what is currently available in your desired neighborhood? Start your first-rental income property search today.

Amy Pearson

Real Estate Broker

Baird & Warner – Gold Coast



4 Steps to Follow When Presenting an Offer in Today’s Market

Real Estate News

4 Steps to Follow When Presenting an Offer in Today’s Market! | Keeping Current Matters

So, you’ve been searching for that perfect house to call a ‘home,’ and you’ve finally found it! The price is right, and in such a competitive market, you want to make sure that you make a great offer so that you can guarantee that your dream of making this house yours comes true!

Below are 4 steps provided by Freddie Mac to help buyers make offers, along with some additional information for your consideration:

1. Determine Your Price

“You’ve found the perfect home and you’re ready to buy. Now what? Your real estate agent will be by your side, helping you determine an offer price that is fair.”

Based on your agent’s experience and key considerations (like similar homes recently sold in the same neighborhood or the condition of the house and what you can afford), your agent will help you to determine the offer that you are going to present.

Getting pre-approved will not only show home-sellers that you are serious about buying, but it will also allow you to make your offer with confidence because you’ll know that you have already been approved for a mortgage in that amount.

2. Submit an Offer

“Once you’ve determined your price, your agent will draw up an offer, or purchase agreement, to submit to the seller’s real estate agent. This offer will include the purchase price and terms and conditions of the purchase.”

Talk with your agent to find out if there are any ways in which you can make your offer stand out in this competitive market! A licensed real estate agent who is active in the neighborhoods you are considering will be instrumental in helping you put in a solid offer.

3. Negotiate the Offer

“Oftentimes, the seller will counter the offer, typically asking for a higher purchase price or to adjust the closing date. In these cases, the seller’s agent will submit a counteroffer to your agent, detailing their desired changes, at this time, you can either accept the offer or decide if you want to counter.

Each time changes are made through a counteroffer, you or the seller have the option to accept, reject or counter it again. The contract is considered final when both parties sign the written offer.”

If your offer is approved, Freddie Mac urges you to “always get an independent home inspection, so you know the true condition of the home.” If the inspector uncovers undisclosed problems or issues, you can discuss any repairs that may need to be made with the seller or even cancel the contract altogether.

4. Act Fast

The inventory of homes listed for sale has remained well below the 6-month supply that is needed for a ‘normal’ market. Buyer demand has continued to outpace the supply of homes for sale, causing buyers to compete with each other for their dream homes.

Make sure that as soon as you decide that you want to make an offer, you work with your agent to present it as quickly as possible.

Bottom Line 

Whether you’re buying your first home or your fifth, having a local professional on your side who is an expert in his or her market is your best bet in making sure the process goes smoothly. Happy house hunting!

Amy Pearson

Real Estate Broker

Baird & Warner – Gold Coast

June Chicago Real Estate Newsletter

Real Estate News


Quick and Inexpensive Fixes for a Good Showing 

Getting your home ready for market doesn’t necessarily have to break the bank. Here are some inexpensive and easy improvements to make your home more enticing to potential buyers.

To read the full newsletter including information on Chicago’s best beaches and featured properties, click here .

Amy Pearson

Real Estate Broker

Baird & Warner – Gold Coast