Rent or buy? In Chicago, it's a tossup

It’s less expensive to own a home than to rent in Chicago, but just barely. That’s according to Trulia’s new Rent vs Buy Index, which compares the average list prices and rents of two-bedroom apartments, condos, and townhomes in 50 American cities.

Chicago’s prices — $303,085 to buy or $1,697 to rent — result in a 15 price-to-rent ratio, the same as Charlotte and San Jose. In cities with ratios between 1 and 15, it’s cheaper to own than rent. From 16 on up, however, the total costs of ownership start to exceed the costs of renting, so we’re right on the cusp.

According to the index, it’s best to own homes in cities like Minneapolis, Miami, Fresno, San Antonio, and Arlington, Tex., all of which scored an 8. Not surprisingly, you’re better off renting in New York, which weighed in with a 33, and, oddly enough, in Fort Worth, which received a 30. (Trulia does admit it was working with a small sample size for the latter.)

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