Trulia Real Estate Blog

articles about “Rent vs. Buy Calculator

Old School Calculators Don’t Tell You Whether It’s Cheaper To Rent Or Buy

But Trulia’s NEW Rent vs. Buy Calculator Does!

Today we announced our summer Rent vs. Buy Report where we reveal whether buying a home is more affordable than renting in America’s 100 largest metropolitan areas. Well, the results are in, and despite higher mortgage rates, buying is still 35% cheaper than renting in all of the 100 largest metros – but San Jose, San Francisco, and Honolulu are on the verge of tipping.

Trying to figure out if you should rent or buy is a big, sometimes agonizing, decision, and we want to help ease that pain. So, in addition to kicking off our summer report, we’re also releasing a new Rent vs. Buy Calculator.

Now, house hunters can compare the cost of renting and buying to see if purchasing a home makes financial sense with an easy-to-use tool. Applying the same math behind the Rent vs. Buy Report, this one-of-a-kind Rent vs. Buy Calculator allows prospective purchasers to input actual prices and rents for homes they’re considering, along with the mortgage rate they qualify for, their tax bracket, how long they plan to live in the home, along with customized fields such as cost of utilities, annual maintenance and insurance costs.

To give you an idea of how the calculator works let’s give it a try! First, enter your desired metro. We’ll choose San Jose for this example. Use the sliders on the left to figure out what you pay in rent, your target home price, how long you expect to live there, your income tax rate, and finally your mortgage rate. You’ll see, after we put all the sliders where they need to be, that it’s actually 22% cheaper to rent than it is to buy in San Jose.


We also take other factors in to account like closing costs, annual property tax, renters and homeowners insurance, utilities, and the down payment – along with many more options. Consumers can input as much detail as they’d like to get an even better idea if they should rent or buy in the Advanced Settings section of the calculator, shown below.


If any of the fields in the Advanced Settings section have you stumped, you’re in luck! We provide helpful definitions to guide you through the process. Things like long-term capital tax gains, annual property tax, and price appreciation can be confusing, so we break it all out for you in an easy-to-understand format.


After you crunch the numbers, simply use Trulia to find the perfect house or apartment in your desired location. Happy hunting!