I live in Texas, which has pretty cheap housing right now. Okay, really cheap housing compared to cities of similar size. But balance that with a lower salary and rent still manages to eat up a considerable chunk. When I first moved here, I paid about 38.7% of my net salary every month in rent and over the past three years I’ve gotten that down to 26.5%.
I have friends purchasing houses so I decided to check into it. According to Zillow, the median list price for a house in San Antonio is $139,900. With rent in San Antonio running between $600-800/month for decent apartments in nice areas, it almost seems like it would make sense to purchase instead.
Let’s take an average, 3 bedroom, 2 bath house at 1,555 sq ft in a nice, North Central neighborhood where I’m looking at apartments to rent. If I can purchase it for $139,9000 right now with a 10% down payment, according to the CNN Mortgage Calculator, at 4% interest, it’d run me about $875/month with taxes and everything. Not bad. If somehow I managed to amass $27,800 for a 20% down payment, my monthly payments would only drop to $810/month.
Assuming I manage to find a nice, 700 sq ft, 1 bedroom 1 bath apartment, I’d have two extra bedrooms, an extra bathroom and a two car garage and only pay a couple hundred extra in mortgage payments every month! Why wouldn’t I purchase??
Well, aside from lack of savings for a down payment, I think it’s silly to purchase property when I a) only need a couple of rooms (since I’m one person), b) I’m not ready to commit myself to the roots that buying a house requires and c) I’ve learned over the past year that I really, really dislike living in an old house. Finding a new apartment to rent is bad enough, I can’t imagine trying to find a place to OWN. That’s a pretty big commitment for someone like me!