It Takes Just 1.5 Years to Break Even on a Houston House – With Big Conditions

by Peter Thomas Ricci

It takes a very short amount of time to break even on a house nationwide, but such privileges come with significant conditions.


It takes just 1.5 years to break-even on a mortgage in Houston, meaning the point at which the total costs of renting begin to exceed that of buying.

That was the finding of a new study from Zillow, which assumed a 30-year mortgage and incorporated upfront payments, closing costs, anticipated mortgage payments, insurance, taxes, utilities, maintenance and renovation costs, along with home equity growth and historic/anticipated home value appreciation rates.

Take a look at our graph below to see how the break-even points compare in the nation’s largest metro areas:


Why is Everyone Not Buying? Conditions, Conditions, Conditions

Such a finding beckons an obvious question – if most homebuyers can break-even in just a couple years, and rents only continue to increase, why on earth is there not a huge rush to buy?

Simply, there are many barriers to homeownership for many people.

That was the conclusion of a complementary survey that Zillow conducted with more than 1,000 adults aged 18 and older. Of the renters surveyed, Zillow learned the following: 16 percent cannot qualify for a home loan; 18 percent cannot afford taxes, maintenance and other costs associated with homeownership; 13 percent do not have enough savings for a down payment; roughly 25 percent struggle to pay even their rent; and 14 percent do not plan on staying long enough to buy.

Altogether, those findings suggest that roughly half of renters are held back from homeownership by a combination of credit and financial issues, and they provide further evidence of a point we’ve made several times already – regardless of whether down payment requirements are just 3 percent or lending standards ease, large swaths of the population continue to face economic insecurity in the long shadow of the downturn, and those remnants will delay any home purchases.

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