'Tis a question with an immediate answer for the average American steeped in the potent brew of the home ownership dream. But here in the Union's most expensive housing market and the world's 34th most expensive city, the answer to that question is not so simple.
I recently fiddled away an hour on the NYT's Rent vs. Buy online app (works best in Firefox), running different financial scenarios. I concluded that in spite of my small family's fervent wish to own our own nest in San Francisco, continuing to rent will actually work out better (for us) in the coming years, since we won't be able to stay put long enough to realize enough appreciation. Sadly, the only things that could change this right now are the kinds of things that devastate economies and lives: terrorism, earthquakes.
I am more than a little heart-broken, and this is probably the most interesting discovery to come out of my little spreadsheet exercise. Just what is it about the dream of home ownership? After blogging an entire month (see the November 2006 archives) on "Reversible Decor" for renters, I certainly shared, discovered, and saw some inspired ideas for making a rental feel like Home. Now I am going to go revisit them.
What about you? Rent vs. buy?
Image: Virtue Real Estate