GOBankingRates

The 2017 Cost of Renting vs. Owning a Home in Every State

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Traditionally, owning a home is touted as a smarter financial move than renting one. But with demand increasing and the supply of houses for sale falling, home prices have been rising nationally, according to real estate marketplace Zillow. So, you might be wondering: Is it better to rent or buy a home?

To find out where it makes more sense to rent or buy a home, GOBankingRates once again surveyed the cost of renting versus owning a home in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Since conducting a similar survey in 2016, we found that the number of places where it’s more expensive to own than rent has increased from nine to 11 — this includes a few states where the price difference is minimal.

For this year’s study, we looked at the estimated rent price for all homes listed on Zillow. (However, it’s worth noting that in last year’s study, we examined the cost to rent only single-family homes). We also calculated the estimated monthly mortgage to own a home in each state, based on the median list price of homes listed on Zillow, a 20 percent down payment and a 30-year fixed-rate loan. Click through to find out whether you should rent or buy a home in your state.

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Buying vs. Renting a Home in Alabama

  • Monthly rent in Alabama: $993
  • Monthly mortgage in Alabama: $958
  • Should you rent or buy: Either

When it comes to renting versus buying a home in Alabama, it’s more expensive to rent — but only by $35 per month. The price gap between renting and owning was bigger ($91) when GOBankingRates examined the cost of renting versus owning a home in 2016. The difference is smaller this year, likely because home prices have risen over the past year as demand has increased and the supply of homes has dropped, according to the Alabama Center for Real Estate at the University of Alabama.

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Buying vs. Renting a Home in Alaska

  • Monthly rent in Alaska: $1,755
  • Monthly mortgage in Alaska: $1,382
  • Should you rent or buy: Buy

Alaska has one of the biggest differences between the cost of renting versus owning a home on our list. Part of the reason for the $373 difference is because the cost to rent is particularly high. In fact, Alaska is one of the top 10 states with the highest rent prices in this study. No wonder Alaska is one of the most expensive states to live.

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Buying vs. Renting a Home in Arizona

  • Monthly rent in Arizona: $1,273
  • Monthly mortgage in Arizona: $1,326
  • Should you rent or buy: Rent

The median monthly mortgage has risen over the past year in Arizona, making it even more expensive to own than rent a home. In 2016, it was more expensive to rent by $27. This year, the difference is $53, nearly twice that amount.

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Buying vs. Renting a Home in Arkansas

  • Monthly rent in Arkansas: $930
  • Monthly mortgage in Arkansas: $816
  • Should you rent or buy: Buy

Compared to last year, it’s still more expensive to rent a home in Arkansas than to own one. In fact, Arkansas has the third-lowest median home list price and monthly mortgage in our study, making it one of the cheapest places to buy and own a home — especially if you’re a first-time homebuyer.

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Buying vs. Renting a Home in California

  • Monthly rent in California: $2,430
  • Monthly mortgage in California: $2,401
  • Should you rent or buy: Either

Three of the top five most expensive rental markets in the U.S. are in California — San Francisco, San Jose and Los Angeles — according to the Zumper National Rent Report for May 2017. That might explain why it costs more to rent a home than own one in this state. However, the gap between the cost of renting and owning is much smaller now than it was in 2016 at $29 versus $179, respectively.

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Buying vs. Renting a Home in Colorado

  • Monthly rent in Colorado: $1,807
  • Monthly mortgage in Colorado: $1,918
  • Should you rent or buy: Rent

Owning a home in Colorado is still more expensive than renting — as it was in 2016 — likely because home prices in the state have been rising. The median list price climbed to $395,000 in May 2017 from $368,000 in May 2016, according to Zillow data.

If you’re wondering, “Should I rent or buy a home in Colorado?” you might want to consider buying a home in one of the state’s cities with the hottest housing markets.

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Buying vs. Renting a Home in Connecticut

  • Monthly rent in Connecticut: $1,703
  • Monthly mortgage in Connecticut: $1,513
  • Should you rent or buy: Buy

The median home list price in Connecticut has jumped over the past year from $290,000 in May 2016 to $309,720 in May 2017. However, it still costs $190 a month more to rent a home than own one in Connecticut.

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Buying vs. Renting a Home in Delaware

  • Monthly rent in Delaware: $1,374
  • Monthly mortgage in Delaware: $1,278
  • Should you rent or buy: Buy

In 2016, it was slightly cheaper to rent a home in Delaware than to own one. However, the tables have turned this year because of falling home prices. The median home list price dropped roughly 3 percent from May 2016 to May 2017, according to Zillow data. Now, it costs $96 more per month to rent than to own a home.

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Buying vs. Renting a Home in District of Columbia

  • Monthly rent in District of Columbia: $2,632
  • Monthly mortgage in District of Columbia: $2,718
  • Should you rent or buy: Rent

Washington, D.C., has the highest monthly rent of any place on our list. Even so, it’s more expensive to own a home in DC than to rent one. The capital has the second-highest estimated monthly mortgage and median list price for homes.

But whether you decide to rent or buy a home, the nation’s capital is still one of the most expensive places to live in the U.S. After all, you need to earn more than $80,000 to live comfortably here, found a separate GOBankingRates study.

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Buying vs. Renting a Home in Florida

  • Monthly rent in Florida: $1,543
  • Monthly mortgage in Florida: $1,376
  • Should you rent or buy: Buy

Home prices have been climbing in Florida. The median list price jumped from $256,000 in May 2016 to $279,900 in May 2017. Yet, it’s still $167 more per month to rent a home in Florida than to buy one. If you’re thinking about moving to the Sunshine state, consider buying a home in this city for more affordability.

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Buying vs. Renting a Home in Georgia

  • Monthly rent in Georgia: $1,214
  • Monthly mortgage in Georgia: $1,122
  • Should you rent or buy: Buy

Georgia’s median monthly mortgage payment has risen nearly $100 because of rising home prices. The median home list price jumped 12.5 percent from May 2016 to May 2017, according to Zillow data. However, it’s $92 a month cheaper to own a home than rent one in Georgia.

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Buying vs. Renting a Home in Hawaii

  • Monthly rent in Hawaii: $2,433
  • Monthly mortgage in Hawaii: $2,916
  • Should you rent or buy: Rent

The cost of renting is high in Hawaii, but the cost of owning a home is even higher because it has some of the most expensive housing in the U.S. In fact, Hawaii has the highest median monthly mortgage payment of all 50 states and the District of Columbia in our study.

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Buying vs. Renting a Home in Idaho

  • Monthly rent in Idaho: $1,187
  • Monthly mortgage in Idaho: $1,299
  • Should you rent or buy: Rent

Owning a home in Idaho continues to be more expensive than renting, as was the case in 2016. Although the median list price in Idaho is reasonable at $262,325, the Zillow mortgage rate is 3.73 percent — one of the highest mortgage rates in the U.S., found our study.

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Buying vs. Renting a Home in Illinois

  • Monthly rent in Illinois: $1,460
  • Monthly mortgage in Illinois: $1,097
  • Should you rent or buy: Buy

Owning a home is more affordable than renting in Illinois. Compared with the state’s monthly rent of $1,460, a monthly mortgage with a median list price of $219,900 is $363 lower. Over the course of a year, that’s a savings amount of more than $4,300.

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Buying vs. Renting a Home in Indiana

  • Monthly rent in Indiana: $1,080
  • Monthly mortgage in Indiana: $824
  • Should you rent or buy: Buy

Owning a home is cheaper than renting in Indiana, as it was last year. In fact, this is the state where your home-buying dollar goes the furthest, found a separate GOBankingRates study.

But home prices have risen since 2016, and the state’s housing market has become more competitive as the supply of homes for sale has dropped, according to the Indiana Association of Realtors.

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Buying vs. Renting a Home in Iowa

  • Monthly rent in Iowa: $1,045
  • Monthly mortgage in Iowa: $890
  • Should you rent or buy: Buy

Home prices have been rising in this Midwestern state. According to Zillow, the median home list price climbed from $159,900 in May 2016 to $174,800 in May 2017. Even so, it’s still more expensive to rent a home than own one in Iowa. The median monthly rent is $155 higher than the estimated monthly mortgage payment.

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Buying vs. Renting a Home in Kansas

  • Monthly rent in Kansas: $1,043
  • Monthly mortgage in Kansas: $864
  • Should you rent or buy: Buy

It’s still more expensive to rent a home in Kansas than own a home. But the difference between the median monthly rent and monthly mortgage payment has shrunk to $179 this year versus $314 in 2016. The gap could close even more in the near future, considering that houses in Kansas are selling quickly and sale prices continue to rise, according to the Kansas Association of Realtors.

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Buying vs. Renting a Home in Kentucky

  • Monthly rent in Kentucky: $1,042
  • Monthly mortgage in Kentucky: $884
  • Should you rent or buy: Buy

Home prices have been rising in Kentucky as demand has increased and the supply of homes has dropped, according to the Kentucky Association of Realtors. Still, the median list price in Kentucky is among the lowest in the U.S., which makes owning a home more affordable than renting in the Bluegrass state.

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Buying vs. Renting a Home in Louisiana

  • Monthly rent in Louisiana: $1,259
  • Monthly mortgage in Louisiana: $1,025
  • Should you rent or buy: Buy

Both the monthly rent and monthly mortgage payment in Louisiana have barely budged since 2016. So, when it comes to renting versus buying a home, it’s still more expensive to rent. However, you can definitely find places for $1,000 a month or less in Louisiana.

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Buying vs. Renting a Home in Maine

  • Monthly rent in Maine: $1,333
  • Monthly mortgage in Maine: $1,142
  • Should you rent or buy: Buy

The median list price in Maine has climbed from $218,900 in May 2016 to $229,900 in May 2017, according to Zillow. Nonetheless, it’s still more expensive to rent than own a home in Maine by $191.

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Buying vs. Renting a Home in Maryland

  • Monthly rent in Maryland: $1,753
  • Monthly mortgage in Maryland: $1,404
  • Should you rent or buy: Buy

Baltimore is one of the nation’s top 25 most expensive rental markets, according to the Zumper National Rent Price Index. Rents in this state have shot up among one- and two-bedroom apartments.

And statewide, it costs $349 more per month to rent in Maryland than to pay the monthly mortgage on a home with a median list price of $299,900. With these figures in mind, you would save nearly $4,200 annually if you own a home rather than rent one.

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Buying vs. Renting a Home in Massachusetts

  • Monthly rent in Massachusetts: $2,176
  • Monthly mortgage in Massachusetts: $2,053
  • Should you rent or buy: Buy

Even though Massachusetts has one of the highest median home list prices in the U.S. at $424,990, it’s still more expensive to rent a home here. In fact, Boston is one of the top five most expensive rental markets in the nation, according to the Zumper National Rent Price Index.

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Buying vs. Renting a Home in Michigan

  • Monthly rent in Michigan: $1,110
  • Monthly mortgage in Michigan: $848
  • Should you rent or buy: Buy

Michigan has one of the lowest monthly mortgage costs on our list. However, the cost has increased by more than $100 since GOBankingRates conducted this study in 2016. Still, it’s one of the best states for first-time homebuyers.

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Buying vs. Renting a Home in Minnesota

  • Monthly rent in Minnesota: $1,413
  • Monthly mortgage in Minnesota: $1,238
  • Should you rent or buy: Buy

Home prices have risen over the past year in Minnesota. And, houses are selling faster, according to the Minnesota Association of Realtors. However, it’s still cheaper to own a home than it is to rent one, found our study. The monthly mortgage on a home with a median list price of $249,000 is $175 less than the monthly rent in Minnesota.

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Buying vs. Renting a Home in Mississippi

  • Monthly rent in Mississippi: $1,039
  • Monthly mortgage in Mississippi: $886
  • Should you rent or buy: Buy

The monthly rent in Mississippi is $153 higher than the monthly mortgage on a home with a median list price of $174,500. Although renting a home is more expensive than buying one in Mississippi, the monthly rent here is still below the national median of $1,416, according to Zillow. In fact, this state is one of the cheapest places to live — whether you’re renting or buying.

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Buying vs. Renting a Home in Missouri

  • Monthly rent in Missouri: $1,003
  • Monthly mortgage in Missouri: $857
  • Should you rent or buy: Buy

Missouri has one of the lowest rents in our study. However, it’s still $146 more expensive to rent than pay the monthly mortgage on a home with a median list price of $167,900.

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Buying vs. Renting a Home in Montana

  • Monthly rent in Montana: $1,239
  • Monthly mortgage in Montana: $1,420
  • Should you rent or buy: Rent

Owning a home is still more expensive than renting a home in Montana, but the gap has narrowed since 2016. Now, the difference between the median monthly mortgage and monthly rent is $181, versus $248 a year ago.

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Buying vs. Renting a Home in Nebraska

  • Monthly rent in Nebraska: $1,244
  • Monthly mortgage in Nebraska: $1,001
  • Should you rent or buy: Buy

It’s still cheaper to own a home in Nebraska, even though the median home list price has increased from $179,900 to $199,500, according to Zillow data. The median monthly mortgage in Nebraska now is $243 less than the monthly rent.

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Buying vs. Renting a Home in Nevada

  • Monthly rent in Nevada: $1,293
  • Monthly mortgage in Nevada: $1,373
  • Should you rent or buy: Rent

The median home list price in Nevada has jumped from $249,090 in May 2016 to $279,000 in May 2017. As a result, the median monthly mortgage is $80 more than the monthly rent. Because of a high price-to-income ratio, GOBankingRates has also identified Nevada as one of the states that could be experiencing a housing bubble.

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Buying vs. Renting a Home in New Hampshire

  • Monthly rent in New Hampshire: $1,622
  • Monthly mortgage in New Hampshire: $1,367
  • Should you rent or buy: Buy

The median list price on homes in New Hampshire has risen. But the monthly rent is $255 more expensive than the monthly mortgage on a home with a median list price of $278,000.

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Buying vs. Renting a Home in New Jersey

  • Monthly rent in New Jersey: $2,036
  • Monthly mortgage in New Jersey: $1,470
  • Should you rent or buy: Buy

The monthly rent in New Jersey is a whopping $566 more than the monthly mortgage on a home with a median list price of $299,900.

However, homeowners aren’t that much better off than renters because the state’s median monthly mortgage ranks among the top 15 highest in our study. Plus, New Jersey is the worst state for first-time homebuyers because of a high foreclosure rate.

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Buying vs. Renting a Home in New Mexico

  • Monthly rent in New Mexico: $1,174
  • Monthly mortgage in New Mexico: $1,093
  • Should you rent or buy: Buy

Home prices haven’t risen much in New Mexico over the past year. According to Zillow, the median list price inched up to $219,000 in May 2017 from $215,000 in May 2016. But owning a home is still slightly more affordable than renting one in this state.

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Buying vs. Renting a Home in New York

  • Monthly rent in New York: $2,184
  • Monthly mortgage in New York: $1,766
  • Should you rent or buy: Buy

New York has one of the most expensive rental markets in our study. And, it has the third-highest cost difference between renting and owning at $418 more.

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Although owning a home is cheaper than renting in New York, buying a house is still expensive. The median list price is $359,000, and the average mortgage rate is 3.81 percent — the highest in our study.

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Buying vs. Renting a Home in North Carolina

  • Monthly rent in North Carolina: $1,157
  • Monthly mortgage in North Carolina: $1,233
  • Should you rent or buy: Rent

In 2016, it was more expensive to rent than own a home in North Carolina. But now, it costs $76 more to own than rent, likely due to a sharp rise in home prices. The median home list price jumped from $226,750 in May 2016 to $249,000 in May 2017, according to Zillow data.

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Buying vs. Renting a Home in North Dakota

  • Monthly rent in North Dakota: $1,308
  • Monthly mortgage in North Dakota: $1,130
  • Should you rent or buy: Buy

Renting a home still is more expensive than owning in North Dakota, as it was in 2016. The monthly rent is $178 more than the mortgage on a home with an average list price of $226,168.

However, North Dakota is one of the top three states most at risk of home price declines, according to the Arch MI Risk Index published by Arch Mortgage Insurance Company.

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Buying vs. Renting a Home in Ohio

  • Monthly rent in Ohio: $1,087
  • Monthly mortgage in Ohio: $793
  • Should you rent or buy: Buy

Owning a home is more affordable than renting in Ohio, which has the lowest monthly mortgage cost on our list. The monthly rent is $294 more expensive than the mortgage on a home with a median list price of $154,900 — which is the second-lowest list price in our study.

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Buying vs. Renting a Home in Oklahoma

  • Monthly rent in Oklahoma: $948
  • Monthly mortgage in Oklahoma: $853
  • Should you rent or buy: Buy

Oklahoma’s monthly rent is $95 more than the monthly mortgage on a home with a median list price of $175,900. However, the difference is much smaller than in 2016, when the monthly rent was $183 more than the median monthly mortgage.

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Buying vs. Renting a Home in Oregon

  • Monthly rent in Oregon: $1,642
  • Monthly mortgage in Oregon: $1,704
  • Should you rent or buy: Rent

Owning a home in Oregon has gotten even more expensive than it was a year ago. Rising home prices have likely fueled the increase. The median home list price in Oregon has jumped from $309,900 in May 2016 to $349,000 in May 2017, according to Zillow.

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Buying vs. Renting a Home in Pennsylvania

  • Monthly rent in Pennsylvania: $1,212
  • Monthly mortgage in Pennsylvania: $978
  • Should you rent or buy: Buy

Renting still is more expensive than owning a home in Pennsylvania, as was the case in 2016. However, the cost difference is much smaller. The monthly rent is now $234 more than the median monthly mortgage versus $461 more in 2016.

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Buying vs. Renting a Home in Rhode Island

  • Monthly rent in Rhode Island: $1,596
  • Monthly mortgage in Rhode Island: $1,339
  • Should you rent or buy: Buy

Despite rising home prices, it’s still more affordable to own a home than rent one in Rhode Island. In fact, Rhode Island ranks as the best state for first-time homebuyers because it has a high percentage of first-time homebuyers and a low foreclosure rate. The monthly rent, on the other hand, is $257 higher than the monthly mortgage on a home with a median list price of $299,900.

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Buying vs. Renting a Home in South Carolina

  • Monthly rent in South Carolina: $1,194
  • Monthly mortgage in South Carolina: $1,144
  • Should you rent or buy: Either

Renting is still more expensive than owning a home in South Carolina. But rising home prices might have helped close the gap over the past year. In 2016, the monthly rent was $129 more than the monthly mortgage, but now it’s just $50 more.

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Buying vs. Renting a Home in South Dakota

  • Monthly rent in South Dakota: $1,201
  • Monthly mortgage in South Dakota: $1,055
  • Should you rent or buy: Buy

The median home list price in South Dakota has risen more than 6 percent over the past year, according to Zillow data. However, it’s still more expensive to rent than own. The monthly rent cost $146 more than the monthly mortgage on a home with a median list price of $212,500.

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Buying vs. Renting a Home in Tennessee

  • Monthly rent in Tennessee: $1,118
  • Monthly mortgage in Tennessee: $963
  • Should you rent or buy: Buy

Nashville is the nation’s hottest housing market this year, according to Zillow. Although home prices are rising in Music City, it’s still more affordable to own rather than rent in Tennessee. The monthly rent is $155 more than the monthly mortgage on a home with a median list price of $191,950.

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Buying vs. Renting a Home in Texas

  • Monthly rent in Texas: $1,411
  • Monthly mortgage in Texas: $1,330
  • Should you rent or buy: Buy

There isn’t a huge difference in the cost of owning and renting a home in Texas. However, owning a home is still the cheaper option. The monthly mortgage on a home with a median list price of $270,000 is $81 less than the monthly rent in Texas.

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Buying vs. Renting a Home in Utah

  • Monthly rent in Utah: $1,440
  • Monthly mortgage in Utah: $1,606
  • Should you rent or buy: Rent

Zillow also named Provo, Utah, one of the hottest housing markets in the U.S. this year. Statewide, the median home list price has jumped 10 percent from $299,000 in May 2016 to $329,000 in May 2017, according to Zillow. As a result, the median monthly mortgage is $166 more than the monthly rent.

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Buying vs. Renting a Home in Vermont

  • Monthly rent in Vermont: $1,574
  • Monthly mortgage in Vermont: $1,233
  • Should you rent or buy: Buy

Can’t decide if you should buy or rent a home in Vermont? Well, keep in mind that it’s $341 more expensive to rent than own a home with a median list price of $249,500 in this state.

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Buying vs. Renting a Home in Virginia

  • Monthly rent in Virginia: $1,490
  • Monthly mortgage in Virginia: $1,471
  • Should you rent or buy: Either

It’s still more expensive to rent than own a home in Virginia — but just barely. The monthly rent in Virginia costs only $19 more than the monthly mortgage on a home with a median list price of $299,950.

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Buying vs. Renting a Home in Washington

  • Monthly rent in Washington: $1,723
  • Monthly mortgage in Washington: $1,680
  • Should you rent or buy: Either

Seattle is one of the hottest housing markets this year, according to Zillow. And, it’s one of the worst places to live if you’re trying to save money.

Statewide, renting remains more expensive than owning a home. The monthly rent in Washington costs $43 more than the monthly mortgage on a home with a median list price of $344,950.

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Buying vs. Renting a Home in West Virginia

  • Monthly rent in West Virginia: $903
  • Monthly mortgage in West Virginia: $796
  • Should you rent or buy: Buy

West Virginia’s monthly rent of $903 is the lowest in the nation. However, the monthly mortgage of $796 is even lower, making owning a home more affordable than renting.

Buying a home could get even cheaper because West Virginia is one of the states most at risk of a decline in home prices, according to the Arch MI Risk Index. Still, no matter how cheap a home might be, don’t buy one without knowing these money-saving tips.

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Buying vs. Renting a Home in Wisconsin

  • Monthly rent in Wisconsin: $1,166
  • Monthly mortgage in Wisconsin: $955
  • Should you rent or buy: Buy

The median home list price has risen more than 7 percent over the past year in Wisconsin, according to Zillow data. However, it still costs $211 more to rent than pay the monthly mortgage on a home with a median list price of $189,500.

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Buying vs. Renting a Home in Wyoming

  • Monthly rent in Wyoming: $1,166
  • Monthly mortgage in Wyoming: $1,174
  • Should you rent or buy: Either

The cost difference in renting versus buying a home is very small in Wyoming. It costs just $8 more per month to own a home. Plus, Wyoming is one of the states most at risk of a decline in home prices this year, according to the Arch MI Risk Index.

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Methodology: GOBankingRates.com surveyed all 50 states and the District of Columbia to identify where it’s more expensive per month to own or rent a home. The median monthly rent was sourced from May 2017 Zillow data on all homes. GOBankingRates sourced median home list prices in every state except North Dakota using May 2017 Zillow data. For North Dakota, the average list price from Trulia was used because Zillow did not have a median list price for this state. Current mortgage rates in each state were sourced on June 28, 2017, from Zillow. GOBankingRates then used the Zillow mortgage calculator to determine the monthly mortgage payment, assuming a 20 percent down payment on a 30-year fixed loan. The mortgage calculator also took insurance and taxes into consideration to determine the monthly mortgage payment.