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Pick your poison: Is it better to buy or rent in this crazy DFW market?

With rising rent and housing prices soaring, is it better to invest in a home or pay rent?

COLLIN COUNTY, Texas — As home prices soar, rent just hit a new record high. 

The national median rent was $1,827 in April. Compare that from a year ago, it’s up 16.7%.

And hardly anywhere is the housing squeeze being felt more than here in North Texas, where data this year showed that rent increased nearly 25% in 2021.

Meanwhile, Dallas-Fort Worth saw the largest spike in home sales prices in the nation, according to a Re/Max National Housing Report in May. The report said home prices here were up 39.5% over 2021, and the median home price was $362,782 in April.

So with demand in both the rental and housing markets continuing to grow, one of the biggest questions people are asking is, “Is it better to rent or buy right now?”

We talked with Collin County realtor Terri Soussan to get her take on the current state of things. She said it's a case-by-case situation, with prospective renters and buyers both weighing a range of factors.

Soussan is noticing residents make the decision based on the kind of lifestyle they want. Also, people are re-evaluating their finances to see which is the better fit and if they’re in a financial position to consider purchasing a home.

“So, it really is both," Soussan said. "I’m seeing sellers deciding to rent, but I’m seeing buyers that are deciding that they really can’t afford to buy right now because they’re being priced out. And I’m seeing renters also that are trying to decide if purchasing is a better option for them."

There are pros and cons to both options.

There are some things to consider if you want to become a homeowner, such as mortgage interest rates going up, one-time expenses, home value potentially dropping lower than what you bought it for and maintenance and upkeep.

On the flip side, rent is at its highest, and a landlord can change the price to your monthly rent at any time.

While renting, there is no upkeep or recurring expenses, there’s more flexibility, renters insurance is much less expensive, and there’s no property tax to worry about.

“People are realizing that inflation is hitting everything and they’re trying to decide what their next step is," Soussan said. "Trying to figure out how they can maximize their returns in this very unusual market that we’ve not lived through before, coming out of the pandemic, in changes with the way people are living."

One thing is for certain, though: Soussan said it is no doubt tougher to be a renter now than it was a year ago.

More real estate coverage from Susanne Brunner:

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