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10 U.S. cities where homeowners pay more than renters


With soaring home prices and high interest rates, homeownership in the U.S. is increasingly unaffordable for the average household. And it’s one of the reasons why, despite similarly rising costs, people are choosing to keep renting over becoming homeowners.

I became a first-time homebuyer in New York City this year and now that I have a mortgage and maintenance fees, I pay more in monthly housing costs than I did when I was renting. New York City is the No. 10 city where homeowners are paying more than renters, according to a May SmartAsset report.

The report assessed the difference in monthly costs between owning a home and renting in 343 cities with a population of over 100,000 people. The data for the report came from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2022 American Community Survey.

On the opposite coast, six California cities made the top 10 list.

In the top two cities, Berkeley and California, owning costs are up to $2,000 or more per month compared to renting. Homeowners in these areas often pay twice as much as renters, the report states.

No. 1 city where homeowners pay more than renters: Berkeley, California

Berkeley, California is the No. 1 U.S. where homeowners pay more than renters, according to SmartAsset.

Haizhanzheng | Istock | Getty Images

On the eastern shore of San Francisco Bay, Berkeley is about a 15 to 30-minute drive away from the city’s downtown. It’s also about 1.5 hours drive north of San Jose, the largest city in Silicon Valley.

The California city is also home to the founding campus in the University of California system. Berkeley continues to be an educational and residential community, according to Britannica.

Top 10 U.S. cities where homeowners pay more than renters

  1. Berkeley, Calif.
  2. San Francisco, Calif.
  3. Oakland, Calif.
  4. Elizabeth, N.J.
  5. Glendale, Calif.
  6. Pasadena, Calif.
  7. Los Angeles, Calif.
  8. Sandy Springs, Ga.
  9. Seattle, Wash.
  10. New York, N.Y.

San Francisco is the No. 2 city where homeowners pay more than renters.

According to the SmartAsset report, the median monthly gross rent is $2,308, while the median monthly housing cost for owners is more than $4,000 — a difference of $1,692.

San Francisco is the No. 2 U.S. city where homeowners pay more than renters.

Alexander Spatari | Moment | Getty Images

For a single person to live comfortably in the San Francisco metro area, they need an average salary of $119,558, according to a different SmartAsset study released in March.

And to afford a typical single-detached home, you’ll need to earn $334,676, according to the National Association of Realtors report.

The northern California San Francisco metro area is the home base for tech companies like Meta, Salesforce, and Google.

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