A New York Times feature today allows users to plug in all sorts of variables to determine which is better, renting or buying. Check it out here.

And Times economics writer David Leonhardt wrote an accompanying piece called “A Word of Advice During a Housing Slump: Rent.”

Here’s a bit of that story:

By the Realtors’ way of thinking, it’s always a good time to buy. Homeownership, they argue, is a way to achieve the American dream, save on taxes and earn a solid investment return all at the same time.

That’s how it has worked out for much of the last 15 years. But in a stark reversal, it’s now clear that people who chose renting over buying in the last two years made the right move. In much of the country, including large parts of the Northeast, California, Florida and the Southwest, recent home buyers have faced higher monthly costs than renters and have lost money on their investment in the meantime. It’s almost as if they have thrown money away, an insult once reserved for renters.

Most striking, perhaps, is the fact that prices may not yet have fallen far enough for buying to look better than renting today, except for people who plan to stay in a home for many years.

You can read the rest of that story here.

KELLY BENNETT

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