Breakeven Horizon

Real Estate Market Reports  |  Zillow Home Price Expectations Survey  |  Affordability Research

Zillow's breakeven horizon calculates the point, in years, at which buying a home becomes less expensive than renting the same home. It incorporates all costs associated with buying and renting, including upfront payments, closing costs, anticipated monthly rent and mortgage payments, insurance, taxes, utilities and maintenance costs. It then factors in historic and anticipated home value appreciation rates, rental prices and rental appreciation rates. To determine the breakeven horizon in your city or neighborhood, use our interactive tool here.

Highlights (Q1 2015):

  • Early 2000 buyers broke even (relative to renting) very quickly by building wealth in housing and avoiding the stock market during the early 2000s.
  • 2005 buyers broke even twice, yet now have large ownership deficits.
  • Many buyers who accepted the home buyer tax credits in 2009 would have been better off financially by renting and putting their savings into the S&P 500 instead.
  • Many who bought during the home value trough (2012) now enjoy large ownership surpluses.

Past Reports: