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Houses in Avondale.
Houses in Avondale.
Kevin Dooley, CC 2.0

Report: Renting a Home Is More Affordable Than Buying One in Phoenix

Renting a three-bedroom home in the Phoenix metro area is generally more affordable than buying a median-priced home, according to a new report.

And it’s not just Phoenix. It might be a better option for Arizonans to rent over buying in seven of the 10 counties analyzed by ATTOM Data Solutions, a property data management company.

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ATTOM analyzed data from 755 counties in the United States, including average rent prices from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and average weekly wages collected by the U.S. Department of Labor. Home prices came from ATTOM’s own databases.

To find rental affordability, ATTOM calculated the average rent for a three-bedroom home as a percentage of the average monthly wage. For home-buying affordability, the company determined the average monthly house payment for a median-priced home as a percentage of monthly wage.

The results are grim for folks who might be considering buying a home, especially in big cities. Renting is more affordable than buying in the nation's 18 biggest counties and 37 of 40 counties with a population of 1 million or more, according to ATTOM. Of the 755 U.S. counties analyzed, 59 percent have more affordable rental rates when compared with house payments.

Jennifer von Pohlmann, director of content and PR at ATTOM Data Solutions, said in a statement: “With home price appreciation increasing annually at an average of 6.7 percent in those counties analyzed for this report and rental rates increasing an average of 3.5 percent, coupled with the fact that home prices are outpacing wages in 80 percent of the counties, renting a home is clearly becoming the more attractive option in this volatile housing market.”

In Arizona, only Pinal, Cochise, and Yuma counties are listed as having better house-buying affordability. Among the counties in which renting is more affordable than buying: Maricopa, Pima, Coconino, Yavapai, Gila, Navajo, Pinal, and Mohave.

In Maricopa County, the median price for a home last year from January to November was $275,000. The average rent for a three-bedroom home was $1,319.

More affordable doesn't necessarily mean affordable. ATTOM's analysis comes shortly after a report late last year finding that Phoenix has the second-fastest growing rental rates in the nation. While Phoenix once ranked high on the cities with relatively affordable homes, the metro area is gradually sliding down that list.

And more affordable doesn't necessarily mean it's always the best option. For people who want to plant roots in Phoenix, home ownership could be the best bet with housing prices in the metro area steadily appreciating in the past few years.

Read on for ATTOM's data on 10 Arizona counties:

A house in Phoenix.
A house in Phoenix.
Sean Horan, CC 2.0

County: Maricopa
Metropolitan Statistical Area: Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale
Population: 4,018,143
Housing units: 1,688,555
2019 Three-Bedroom Rent: $1,661
2018 Three-Bedroom Rent: $1,574
2019 vs. 2018 Three-Bedroom Rent Percentage Change: +5.5 percent
2019 Rent Affordability (Percentage of Average Wages to Rent): 37.7 percent
YTD 2018 Home Affordability (Percentage of Wages to Buy Home — 3 Percent Down): 42.7 percent
Jan to Nov 2018 YTD Home Sales Prices: $275,000
Cheaper to Buy or Rent: RENT

County: Pima
Metropolitan Statistical Area: Tucson
Population: 998,537
Housing Units: 446,769
2019 Three-Bedroom Rent: $1,388
2018 Three-Bedroom Rent: $1,319
2019 vs. 2018 Three-Bedroom Rent Percentage Change: +5.2 percent
2019 Rent Affordability (Percentage of Average Wages to Rent): 36.2 percent
YTD 2018 Home Affordability (Percentage of Wages to Buy Home — 3 Percent Down): 40.4 percent
Jan to Nov 2018 YTD Home Sales Prices: $215,000
Cheaper to Buy or Rent: RENT

County: Cochise
Metropolitan Statistical Area: Sierra Vista-Douglas
Population: 129,647
Housing Units: 60,087
2019 Three-Bedroom Rent: $1,271
2018: Three Bedroom Rent: $1,239
2019 vs. 2018 Three-Bedroom Rent Percentage Change: +2.6 percent
2019 Rent Affordability (Percentage of Average Wages to Rent): 33.8 percent
YTD 2018 Home Affordability (Percentage of Wages to Buy Home — 3 Percent Down): 28.8 percent
Jan to Nov 2018 YTD Home Sales Prices: $155,456
Cheaper to Buy or Rent: BUY

County: Coconino
Metropolitan Statistical Area: Flagstaff
Population: 136,701
Housing Units: 63,955
2019 Three-Bedroom Rent: $1,733
2018: Three Bedroom Rent: $1,545
2019 vs. 2018 Three-Bedroom Rent Percentage Change: +12.2 percent
2019 Rent Affordability (Percentage of Average Wages to Rent): 49.5 percent
YTD 2018 Home Affordability (Percentage of Wages to Buy Home — 3 Percent Down): 65.2 percent
Jan to Nov 2018 YTD Home Sales Prices: $340,000
Cheaper to Buy or Rent: RENT

County: Yavapai
Metropolitan Statistical Area: Prescott
Population: 215,996
Housing Units: 111,731
2019 Three-Bedroom Rent: $1,450
2018: Three Bedroom Rent: $1,348
2019 vs. 2018 Three-Bedroom Rent Percentage Change: +7.6 percent
2019 Rent Affordability (Percentage of Average Wages to Rent): 44.1 percent
YTD 2018 Home Affordability (Percentage of Wages to Buy Home — 3 Percent Down): 63.3 percent
Jan to Nov 2018 YTD Home Sales Prices: $306,854
Cheaper to Buy or Rent: RENT

County: Gila
Metropolitan Statistical Area: Payson
Population: 53,165
Housing Units: 32,952
2019 Three-Bedroom Rent: $1,198
2018: Three Bedroom Rent: $1,159
2019 vs. 2018 Three-Bedroom Rent Percentage Change: +3.4 percent
2019 Rent Affordability (Percentage of Average Wages to Rent): 34.5 percent
YTD 2018 Home Affordability (Percentage of Wages to Buy Home — 3 Percent Down): 46.7 percent
Jan to Nov 2018 YTD Home Sales Prices: $235,000
Cheaper to Buy or Rent: RENT

County: Yuma
Metropolitan Statistical Area: Yuma
Population: 202,987
Housing Units: 89,330
2019 Three-Bedroom Rent: $1,243
2018: Three Bedroom Rent: $1,258
2019 vs. 2018 Three-Bedroom Rent Percentage Change: -1.2 percent
2019 Rent Affordability (Percentage of Average Wages to Rent): 36.9 percent
YTD 2018 Home Affordability (Percentage of Wages to Buy Home — 3 Percent Down): 35.2 percent
Jan to Nov 2018 YTD Home Sales Prices: $170,454
Cheaper to Buy or Rent: BUY

County: Navajo
Metropolitan Statistical Area: Show Low
Population: 107,656
Housing Units: 57,414
2019 Three-Bedroom Rent: $1,147
2018: Three Bedroom Rent: $1,043
2019 vs. 2018 Three-Bedroom Rent Percentage Change: 10.0 percent
2019 Rent Affordability (Percentage of Average Wages to Rent): 35.2 percent
YTD 2018 Home Affordability (Percentage of Wages to Buy Home — 3 Percent Down): 45.3 percent
Jan to Nov 2018 YTD Home Sales Prices: $215,000
Cheaper to Buy or Rent: RENT

County: Pinal
Metropolitan Statistical Area: Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale
Population: 389,772
Housing Units: 163,490
2019 Three-Bedroom Rent: $1,661
2018: Three Bedroom Rent: $1,574
2019 vs. 2018 Three-Bedroom Rent Percentage Change: +5.5 percent
2019 Rent Affordability (Percentage of Average Wages to Rent): 46.1 percent
YTD 2018 Home Affordability (Percentage of Wages to Buy Home — 3 Percent Down): 38.3 percent
Jan to Nov 2018 YTD Home Sales Prices: $200,000
Cheaper to Buy or Rent: BUY

County: Mohave
Metropolitan Statistical Area: Lake Havasu City-Kingman
Population: 203,362
Housing Units: 111,984
2019 Three-Bedroom Rent: $1,181
2018: Three Bedroom Rent: $1,205
2019 vs. 2018 Three-Bedroom Rent Percentage Change: -2.0 percent
2019 Rent Affordability (Percentage of Average Wages to Rent): 36.6 percent
YTD 2018 Home Affordability (Percentage of Wages to Buy Home — 3 Percent Down): 44.8 percent
Jan to Nov 2018 YTD Home Sales Prices: $214,900
Cheaper to Buy or Rent: RENT

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