Breaking Even

In Dallas-Fort Worth, it's still cheaper to buy a home than rent

In Dallas-Fort Worth, it's still cheaper to buy a home than rent

1639 Homewood Pl Dallas house for sale
Building equity over paying rent is still easier to do in DFW. Photo courtesy of Dave Perry-Miller Real Estate

Though not as red-hot as it has been, the Dallas-Fort Worth real estate market is still inspiring prospective homeowners to buy, buy, buy. Considering how much of your salary you might have to put aside for a down payment, is buying still a better financial decision than renting?

Yes, says Zillow, especially in DFW. The real estate website released its final Breakeven Horizon Report for 2016, and the results show that the amount of time it takes for a DFW home purchase to be worth more than renting the same property — and to recoup the hard costs associated with buying the home — is just one year and six months.

That's a little longer than at the end of 2015, when the number was one year and three months, but still shorter than the national Breakeven Horizon, which is just a month shy of two years. Some of the factors that go into Zillow's calculations are expected growth in rents and home values, price-to-rent ratios, and mortgage interest rates.

We're also right behind the No. 1 city for breaking even, which is Indianapolis, at one year and four months. Atlanta, Detroit, Tampa, and Orlando (all one year and five months) share the No. 2 spot with a four-way tie.

In Texas, DFW has by far the quickest breakeven point. San Antonio homeowners have to wait one year and nine months, while Houston is right in line with the country as a whole at one year and 11 months. Austin is on par with Seattle and Philadelphia, with a wait time of two years and five months.

The fourth-quarter report also shows that a general slowdown in home appreciation values across the country is most greatly impacting the most expensive (and often coastal) cities. In San Jose, for example, it takes a homeowner more than five years to reach that breakeven point, while Los Angeles and San Francisco buyers are stuck waiting more than four years before they can begin building equity.

But not everyone is seeing this slowdown. New Yorkers and Washington metro residents have a significantly shorter breakeven point this year when compared to last, meaning that home value appreciation is still soaring in a few markets and up 6.8 percent nationally.