St Louis Home Prices Have Increased by 112 Percent Since 2000; Rental Rates Rise by 68 Percent

As the infographic below illustrates (which is available exclusively from MORE, REALTORS®) the median price of a home in St Louis (the 5-county core market) has increased 112% since 2000, from $124,900 in 2000 to $265,000 in 2022.  During the same time period, the median lease rate, or rental rate, for a St Louis home has increased by just 68%, moving from $955 in 2000 to $1,600 in 2022.

Leasing a home is obviously a better deal, right?

If we set aside the benefits (and responsibilities) of homeownership and the long-term investment aspects, simply looking at the monthly cost might lead us to the conclusion that renting a home in St. Louis could likely save us money compared to buying one. After all, if we just consider the fact that during the aforementioned 22-year period, the cost of buying a St. Louis home increased by nearly 65% more than the cost of leasing one, we would certainly lean towards that conclusion. However, if we account for interest rates, which impact the monthly cost of owning a home (assuming financing is involved), we find that the gap significantly narrows. This is because even though interest rates are higher now than they were just a year or two ago – in fact, roughly double – they are still lower than they were in 2000.

Factoring in interest rates, the gap between buying and leasing narrows significantly.

In 2000, interest rates for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage varied but averaged roughly 7.5%. In contrast, they were around 6% in 2022. As the infographic shows, when we take these rates into account to assess the monthly cost of owning a home, we observe that even though home prices have risen by 112% since 2000, the house payment on a median-priced home has only risen by 82%. While the increase in house payments at 82% is still greater than the 68% increase in leasing, the gap is much smaller. Once other benefits of homeownership are factored in, it becomes easier for many people to justify the additional cost of ownership.

To clarify, I am not claiming that homeownership is for everyone or that leasing is inherently inferior. In fact, I’ve been one of those people who have consistently said that homeownership isn’t for everyone. For many individuals, based on factors like their likelihood of relocating, job and financial stability, money management skills, and others, leasing can be a better alternative. I am simply trying to highlight that the cost gap between the two options may not be as wide as it initially appears.

Renting or Leasing a St Louis Home vs Buying a St Louis Home

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