Anyway, LeBron, here's the problem - it's all a guess. We don't really know what rents will do - although, of course, if you sign a long enough lease, you can be locked in. We don't really know what home values will do - we can guess, but we don't know, and we don't know what interest rates will do.
You can - and will, as so many people with eight open Excel windows do - get so tied up in the accounting aspect that you will forget that home price changes are not constant - they are highly variable - and you are asked to make these assumptions about the next thirty years.
Basically, the NYT toy says that, even if home values decrease 5% a year for thirty years, if rents go up just 1% a year it's better to own than to rent. And as a very practical matter, the earlier in life you buy, the earlier in life you can pay off the note and own free-and-clear.
For a fellow like you who moves every five to seven years, it's going to be pretty much a coin toss - we don't know what the future holds, but then again, you can afford to live any way that you want. Just make sure your new home has plenty of room for trophy cabinets.
All the best,
You're pretty smart for a basketball player! You are correct in the way you are looking at your analysis. I assume you are also smart enough to factor in the tax savings of the deductions and to only look at the interest cost of the mortgage, not the total P&I payment, and you will factor in your closing costs, commissions, your downpayment and the return of that downpayment.
The tool is useful, but it is only accurate for the moment or immediate time frame you are working from. As the variables change (and they will) so will the outcome.
It will be interesting to track this over the next few months, and I would also suggest you run it backwards six months if you can get the relevant data, for a specific neighborhood test it's predictions.
I do not think you can translate the result from one area to another, the pricing and sales activity has become very localized and you will need to run the calculations for the exact area you are evaluating each time.
It is a good starting point, but anything that extrapolates an outcome is fraught with inconsistency and should be taken with a grain of salt, as they say.
And yes, if you are being thorough, I think the LOC is something that has to be included in the metrics.
Most of all, the tool has limited use for most home buyers because it is incapable of measuring the value of the living experience in a certain property. The investment in a home is just a portion of the equation for most people.