As Rents Continue to Rise, It's Less Expensive to Own a Home than to Rent, Says Economic Report

TAMPA/ORLANDO/JACKSONVILLE, Fla. --- The recession has been turning things upside down for the past five years, so this shouldn’t come as much of a surprise: in many areas of Florida it’s getting to be cheaper to own a home than to rent.

That’s the word from John Burns, a real estate consultant and author of the May 2012 John Burns Regional Analysis and Reports for North and Central Florida.

Rent prices have risen for the past two quarters in Central Florida to an average of about $800 for a median-sized home, the report asserts.

That means it costs about $333 a month less to own a home than to rent one of a comparable size in the Tampa Bay area, $322 a month less in the Orlando area and $260 a month less in the Jacksonville area.

When the recession struck a wave of foreclosures hampered the housing industry in Florida, said Sean Strickler, vice president of sales for Pulte Homes in the North Florida region.

“Many former home owners were forced into the rental market and rental prices rose considerably,” Strickler explained.

“Meanwhile, housing prices decreased as thousands of foreclosed homes went on the market. Now we’ve seen the two lines cross--- when you factor in historically low interest rates it’s less expensive to own a home than it is to rent one of comparable size,” Strickler said.

And that doesn’t take into consideration lifestyle or amenities offered in new communities or the headaches involved with renting, Strickler said.

Pulte Homes is developing four communities in the Jacksonville region, including Forest Hammock at Oakleaf in Orange Park, Flagler Station and Bartram Park in south Jacksonville and Vizcaya near Jacksonville Beach.

Pulte Homes is developing four communities in the Orlando region, including Berkshire Park and Windermere Terrace in Windermere, Meadow Ridge in Ocoee and VillageWalk at Lake Nona in east Orlando.

Pulte Homes is developing four communities in the Tampa Bay region, including Trillium in Brooksville, Stonebrier Waterbridge in Lutz, Bonvida in Valrico and Harrison Ranch in Parrish.

Pulte Homes builds new single-family homes priced from under $100,000 to the $300s in the Tampa Bay region, from the low $200s in the Orlando region and the mid-$100s in the Jacksonville area.

Centex is developing four communities in the Tampa Bay region, including Starling at Fishhawk Ranch in Lithia, Magnolia Park in Riverview and Stonebrier Sweetgrass in Lutz.

Centex is developing three communities in the Orlando region, including Verde Ridge in Clermont, Sullivan Ranch in Mt. Dora and Legacy Park in Casselberry.  Centex builds townhomes and single-family homes priced from the mid-$100s in the Orlando Region.

Centex builds new townhomes and single-family homes priced from the low-$100s in the Tampa Bay region.

Most major home builders---Pulte Homes and Centex included---feature amenities such as security gates, swimming pools, community clubhouses, playgrounds, and nature trails in communities designed for working families as well.

“There may never be a better time in our lifetime to own a new home. Anytime you can invest in your family’s future and give them a better quality of life at a lower monthly cost it makes the decision to buy new very clear,” Strickler said.

About Pulte Homes
Communities built by Pulte Homes are designed to deliver the best quality of life for home owners. By combining innovative Life-Tested® designs, an unwavering commitment to quality and attention to detail, Pulte Homes is the nation’s premier home brand for upwardly mobile home buyers. As the most awarded homebuilder in customer satisfaction, Pulte Homes has consistently ranked among top home builders in third-party customer satisfaction studies.  For more information about Pulte Homes, visit www.pulte.com.

About Centex
Reliably built, smartly designed and affordable, Centex Homes brings the pride of homeownership to value-conscious buyers in 21 states. As the leading brand for first-time homebuyers looking for just the right home, Centex balances affordability with unique form and function leading to better living. Buyers put themselves in a better place by choosing Centex. For more information about Centex, visit www.centex.com. 

About PulteGroup
PulteGroup, Inc. (NYSE: PHM), based in Bloomfield Hills, Mich., is one of America’s largest home building companies with operations in approximately 60 markets throughout the country. Through its brand portfolio that includes Centex, Pulte Homes and Del Webb, the company is one of the industry’s most versatile homebuilders able to meet the needs of multiple buyer groups and respond to changing consumer demand. PulteGroup conducts extensive research to provide home buyers with innovative solutions and new homes designed for the way people actually live today. As the most awarded home builder in customer satisfaction, PulteGroup brands have consistently ranked among top home builders in third-party customer satisfaction studies.