Should you rent or buy? Report says it depends on where you live


This Monday, April 23, 2018, photo shows a “Sold” sign in front of a home in Jackson, Miss. On Thursday, April 26, Freddie Mac reports on the week’s average U.S. mortgage rates. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

Is it cheaper to buy or rent a home? 

According to a report by, it depends on where you call home. 

The report, published in April, depicts a heat map across the country of renting vs buying – dots of red indicate counties where buying a home is cheaper where blue shows counties where renting is the cheaper option. 

See the report HERE. 

The report uses data from county-level residential listing price data on for April for the housing prices. Rental prices come from U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development data. That data is compared to median monthly costs of renting and buying relative to median income. 

According to the report, renting costs have surged in 66 percent of counties in the country.

Nationwide, areas with large cities dominate the top 10 counties where it is cheaper to rent. Our area is a mix, though. 

Out of Carter, Greene, Hawkins, Johnson, Sullivan, Washington and Unicoi Counties in Tennessee, Carter County is the only county where it is cheaper to buy a home. Hawkins County came out equal in rent vs buy prices. 

The opposite is true for southwest Virginia – out of Buchanan, Dickenson, Lee, Russell, Scott, Smyth, Washington and Wise Counties, Washington County is the only county in which it is cheaper to rent rather than buy a home.

Find out where your county stands here:

Tennessee Rent vs Buy 

Carter County 2% cheaper to BUY2
Greene County 4% cheaper to RENT
Hawkins Countyequal to BUY and RENT
Johnson County16% cheaper to RENT
Greene County4% cheaper to RENT
Unicoi County 2% cheaper to RENT
Washington County 8% cheaper to RENT8

Virginia Rent vs Buy

Buchanan County2% cheaper to BUY
Dickenson County7% cheaper to BUY
Lee County 10% cheaper to BUY
Russell County4% cheaper to BUY
Scott County8% cheaper to BUY
Smyth County1% cheaper to BUY
Washington County10% cheaper to RENT
Wise County 9% cheaper to BUY

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