Owning a median-priced, three-bedroom home in the Dayton area is more affordable than renting a three-bedroom property. CORNELIUS FROLIK / STAFF

Buy or rent? Buying can be cheaper in Dayton

To buy or rent? Answering that question isn’t hard in much of the Dayton area, a new national report shows.

In Dayton and some surrounding areas, recent median home prices are sometimes low enough to make buying a more affordable proposition than paying “average” rents for three-bedroom apartments, according to real estate data curator ATTOM Data Solutions.

Marshalling median home sale prices from January to November 2019 and recent average rents, ATTOM’s data shows that it can be more affordable to buy than rent in the Dayton metro area.

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Those numbers can only go so far, however. When it’s time to buy or rent specific properties, residents must compare real, individual prices and rents, not just regional medians or averages, agreed Jan Leverett, senior real estate specialist with Irongate Realtors and immediate past president of Dayton Area Realtors.

But when an area generally offers homes that are within reach of young or mobile buyers, that can be a good thing, Leverett said.

“It’s a definite opportunity for the Dayton area,” she said. “With this being a university town and a medical town and that type of thing, we have people coming in for residencies and for doctorate programs at UD (the University of Dayton).”

In the Dayton MSA as a whole, the report said it takes some 28 percent of monthly wages to rent, putting 2019 average weekly wages at $923 and the “average rent” of a three-bedroom apartment at $1,114.

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In Butler County, buying might be more affordable, the report says, putting 2019 average weekly wages there at $939 and rent for a three-bedroom apartment in 2020 at $1,275, leaving a “rental affordability” percentage of 31.3 percent, according to ATTOM.

Buying can be the less expensive option in Springfield, too, where the report puts weekly wages at $809, rent at $1,013 and the rental affordability percentage at nearly 29 percent.

Those communities aren’t alone. Owning a “median-priced, three-bedroom home” is more affordable than renting a three-bedroom property in 455, or 53 percent, of 855 U.S. counties analyzed for the report, ATTOM said.

In Warren County, however, home prices are higher and renting can be the less expensive option. According to the report, the 2020 median home price there was $234,000.

The situation is similar in Greene County, where ATTOM put the Jan.-Nov. median home sale prices at $154,000. Average rents in Greene County were put at $1,114.

Leverett said she has seen Air Force Institute of Technology students rent when they’re in town for just 18 months. But they can also buy in areas that she deems “highly re-saleable,” locales that include parts of Beavercreek, Bellbrook, Centerville, Kettering and areas close to Interstate 675, Miami Valley Hospital South and much of the suburbs south of Dayton, she said.

In those areas, in today’s market, buyers can often buy and quickly sell when they need to, she said.

“You’re into an easy turnover type of a situation,” she said.

Among counties with a population of 1 million or more, those most affordable for renting include Cuyahoga County, where the percentage of wages for renting is put at 25.6 percent, the report found.

Other affordable rental markets include: Allegheny County, Pa. (24.3 percent rental affordability percentage); Fulton County, Ga. (26.2 percent); Oakland County, Mich. (26.6 percent) and Wayne County, Mich. (27.5 percent).

Statewide, Ohio joins New York, Alabama and Tennessee as being among the most affordable rental states, the report says.

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