Is it better to rent or to buy in 2022?

For would-be homeowners, the answer is complicated

Economic inflation and rising mortgage rates have battered the housing market throughout the year, leaving many hopeful homeowners sidelined. But everyone needs a home. It all begs the question: is it better to rent or to buy in the Atlanta area this year?

According to the experts, it’s a question that comes with a complicated answer.

Some real estate experts are expecting home prices to drop by up to 20% nationwide if we go into a recession, realtor.com reported. All the same, mortgage interest rates are nearing 7% and homes have seen a 14% year-over-year price hike. For many hopeful homeowners, a price drop may be too little too late for 2022.

ExploreToday’s mortgage rates haven’t looked like this in over 20 years

According to the Atlanta Realtors Association, things are slowly beginning to ease for home buyers.

“The Median Price remains strong in Metro Atlanta at $408,000 which is up 13.6% over this time last year,” Atlanta REALTORS Association President Karen Hatcher said in a September report. “This continues a trend of year over year double digit increases every month since August 2020.

“On a positive note for buyers, inventory is now up nearly 33% over last year. While sales are now down, this still represents just under 2 months of homes available for sale which keeps us still deeply in a seller’s market. Demand is still strong but cooling slightly with the median days on market at 10 and average at 20. This is historically extremely low and overall, the Atlanta Market remains strong. With our population growth, it’s still a great time to sell.”

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As reported by Reuters, the cost of renting a home in the U.S. is continuing to climb in 2022 following a 10% jump in prices from pre-pandemic levels last year. In the professionally managed sector, things are even tougher for hopeful renters.

“It’s a truly unprecedented market in a lot of ways,” Whitney Airgood-Obrycki, a senior research associate at the Harvard housing center, told Reuters.

In the end, hopeful home buyers and renters are both in a tough spot right now. Rent is high and inventory is low. For houses, mortgage rates are high. But, inventory is slowly leveling out in the housing industry. Prices are falling as home sellers begin to pivot with inflation and rising interest rates.

Home ownership has its advantages in today’s volatile market. As the U.S. economy continues to teeter on the verge of a recession, the home selling and renting markets remain in precarious positions. Owning a home, however, will provide a mostly locked in monthly housing payments for the long term — avoiding the possibility of a weighty price hike from a landlord.

For those in a position to be able to do so, prices are on the decline so patience is key. For those in need of a home as soon as possible, renting can be an equally costly and risky endeavor. Local inventory, or the lack thereof, may force many to submit to a landlord all the same.