There are some hard and fast metrics you can use to ACTUALLY know if it is cheaper to buy than to rent in your MSA. Would you guess that it is cheaper to own in 17 out of the 33 largest major metro areas?
Buying is more affordable than renting when homebuyers are able to:
Put 3.5 percent down on the property, often with help of down payment assistance programs.
Meet eligibility requirements for those down payment assistance programs
Qualify for a loan for a median-priced (or less expensive) home
Cover mortgage insurance costs, which vary by loan