Austin, Texas
Adobe Stock Austin, Texas

High interest rates and home prices as well as decelerating rents have made it more affordable to rent than become a homeowner in the nation’s top 50 metros, according to’s February Rental Report.

According to, the mortgage payment on a starter home in the largest metros cost $1,027, or 60.1%, more than the monthly rent in those markets in February, on average.

“With rents continuing to fall and the cost of buying a home remaining high, exacerbated by the rise in mortgage rates in the latter half of 2023, renting a home is now a more cost-effective option in all major U.S. markets,” said chief economist Danielle Hale.

She added that the decision to rent versus buy often goes beyond a financial advantage and can depend on a consumer’s circumstances.

“Renters often prize flexibility, while the biggest reasons home buyers cite are that they want a place of their own and to be closer to family and friends,” she noted. “The financial scales have tipped monthly costs in favor of renter over buying, but it does not bring the benefit of housing wealth gains over time that owning does, and movers should consider their long-term housing plans and personal situation as they make this decision.”

According to, median rents decreased across all unit sizes in February. However, despite seven months of year-over-year declines, median rents are $252, or 17.3%, higher than the same time in 2020 prior to the pandemic.

In February 2023, 45 metros favored renting, with Memphis, Tennessee; Birmingham, Alabama; Pittsburgh; St. Louis; and Baltimore flipping from favoring buying to renting over the past 12 months.

In the latest findings, Austin, Texas, topped’s list of markets most favoring renting. The monthly cost of buying a starter home in the Lone Star State’s capital was $3,695, 141.5% more than the monthly rent of $1,530.

In addition to Austin, here are the top 10 markets with the largest rent versus buy savings:

  1. Austin-Round Rock-Georgetown, Texas—$2,165 monthly rent savings, 141.5% difference
  2. Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, Washington—$2,422 monthly rent savings, 121.1% difference
  3. Phoenix-Mesa-Chandler, Arizona—$1,528 monthly rent savings, 99% difference
  4. San Francisco-Oakland-Berkeley, California—$2,689 monthly rent savings, 95.5% difference
  5. Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, California—$2,539 monthly rent savings, 89.7% difference
  6. San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, California—$2,780 monthly rent savings, 86.7% difference
  7. Nashville-Davidson-Murfreesboro-Franklin, Tennessee—$1,366 monthly rent savings, 86% difference
  8. Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, Oregon-Washington—$1,396 monthly rent savings, 84.4% difference
  9. Sacramento-Roseville-Folsom, California—$1,514 monthly rent savings, 82.1% difference
  10. Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, Texas—$1,103 monthly rent savings, 80% difference