ARA — Generations of Americans have considered owning their own home a key aspect of achieving the American Dream. But the lingering aftermath of the Great Recession has caused many people to rethink that belief. Rental occupancies are rising as more Americans opt to lease their homes, rather than buy.
Long gone are the days when Americans assumed home ownership could only have a positive impact on their finances, and that renting was equivalent to throwing money away.
Like any debate, the question of renting versus buying has pros and cons on both sides. Buying a house creates the potential to build equity and provides a sense of stability, while renting affords a level of mobility. In many areas of the country, the gap between lease costs and monthly mortgage payments has narrowed, making both options equally affordable.
While the decision to rent or buy will depend on your personal circumstances, when you're considering the question some facts are universal. Among them: What impact might your credit have on your decision to buy or rent, and what impact will either option have on your credit score?
When you're evaluating whether buying a home or continuing to rent makes sense for you, consider these facts:
* Rental vacancy rates have been falling while rent prices have been rising, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
* While home prices have begun to increase again in some metro areas, the majority of regions continued to see them falling in 2012, according to data from the National Association of Realtors.
On the other side of the argument, if you have little or no debt, have a good credit score and a stable job, mortgage rates are very low. Buying now could save you thousands over the life of a loan.