Homeownership is the epitome of the American Dream not only for its advantages as a financial asset, but also for its sociocultural value—in fact, most renters associate owning a home with the ultimate ideal, despite having some difficulty affording it.
A recent report by cost information website HowMuch.net reveals the goal is within reach—for some—and most are set on realizing it regardless of cost.
In a side-by-side analysis of monthly housing costs, the slimmest gaps between owning and renting are shown to be in the Rust Belt and the Southeast. Homeownership in West Virginia is the most easily achievable, requiring only $297 above and beyond the cost of renting. A home in Indiana, Arkansas, Florida and South Carolina is also relatively attainable.
Credit: "Buying vs. Renting a Home by State" by HowMuch.net
Many states favor renters expense-wise—the Garden State having the starkest contrast between renting and owning—but the intangible implications of homeownership, such as privacy and security, are outweighing cost barriers. The report cites recent Census data showing that although the homeownership rate is idling, owner household formation is occurring faster than renter household formation.
Still, the monthly cost of owning is, for many would-be homeowners, a non-issue. The report concludes:
That ideal vision of "home" is strong enough to convince over half of all Americans to stretch their budgets in search of the yard with white picket fences. In all, no amount of data can overcome the perfect image of the ideal home.