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Nearly two-thirds of Americans live in areas where it is more affordable to rent than buy.

A majority of Americans are renting on the cheap — at least, compared to what they’d be paying if they bought a home.

Most Americans (64%) live in a county where renting takes up a smaller portion of one’s paycheck than buying, according to a recent report released by real estate data firm Attom Data Solutions. And yet in more than half (54%) of housing markets — 240 of 447 U.S. counties — buying a median-price home is actually more affordable than renting a three-bedroom property.

So why the seeming contradiction? Even if they can’t afford to buy, the majority of people are renting in areas where they get the most bang for their buck. The buy-versus-rent calculus is shifting toward renting being more affordable. With a strong jobs market they want to stay mobile and often can’t afford to buy near urban centers where they’re more likely to get a job and a job at higher wages.

Renting may be better than owning to build wealth — if you’re disciplined to invest the money you save by not owning a propertys. When considering buying and building wealth through equity appreciation versus renting, and reinvesting in a portfolio of stocks and bonds, property appreciation does not change the results.

What’s contributing to this shift toward renting?

Interest rates are expected to increase throughout 2018, making buying a home with a mortgage less affordable for many — even younger Americans who aim to pay off their home in 20 or 30 years and reap the appreciation of a rise in home values. And tight housing inventory across the country is fueling competition for homes that makes them more expensive.

Plus, the “drive until you afford” mentality has made many once-affordable suburbs and exurbs vastly more expensive. Large swaths of the New Jersey and New York commuting belt have seen double-digit house price increases over the last 12 months, for instance. In fact, single-family rental is the fastest-growing segment of the housing market.

The tax bill has further complicated the math in deciding whether to rent or buy. Under the 2017 tax code, a family of three with an annual income of $150,000 would be better off buying if their rent exceeded $1,507 per month. But with the new tax code, they’d have to pay more than $1,885 per month to make buying worthwhile.

More renters may also find themselves priced out of the housing market, because home prices are appreciating more quickly than rents in 59% of markets.

What’s more, in 60% of markets rents are rising faster than wages. As a result, more renters may also find themselves priced out of the housing market, because home prices are appreciating more quickly than rents in 59% of markets. And the old adage of not spending more than 30% of your income on rent (or a mortgage) is increasingly difficult in cities like San Francisco and New York.

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