Buy vs. rent: Where is it cheaper in the Valley?

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Owning a home is a reality for some and others a dream.

"What's happened is rents have been on the rise, and interest rates have really gone down, it just makes homeownership much more affordable," said Don Scordino with Fresno Association of Realtors.

A new study by Attom Data Solutions shows, in places like Madera and King's County, it's cheaper to buy a three-bedroom home than renting a three-bedroom apartment.

In Madera, the average price for a home was $264,000 for a home, and an apartment rent averaged $1,698 a month.

In Kings county, prices averaged $230,000 for a home while an apartment was $1,629 a month.

Attom based its housing affordability on a variety of factors, including three percent down, to insurance payments, taxes, and mortgage payment.

"Apartments are a part of a larger housing ecosystem, which include purchasing a home," said Greg Terzakis with the California Apartment Association.

Terzakis says there is a more significant housing problem.

"We're not building enough single-family homes both market-rate and affordable. We haven't been building enough multi-family units, both market and affordable," he said. "Until local, county, and state gov't get serious about getting us out of the housing crisis, the only way that's going to happen is building our way out."

He points out communities like Madera are building more homes that show more affordability.

Terzakis says there are bills out there to put in more units and drive down costs in communities, small and big.

As for Fresno County, the median price for a three-bedroom home is $280,000.

"If you're looking long-term, in five years, in ten years, you're going to see rents go up, and if you have a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage, you're good," Scordino said.

Overall, the study says home ownership is more affordable in 53 percent of the 855 counties it studied across the United States.

Experts say whether you choose to rent or buy, the Central Valley remains an affordable place to live in the state of California.
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