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By the City, When to Rent and When to Buy in SoCal

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The clever folks at Zillow have created what they call the breakeven horizon (can we get a music cue on that?): "the number of years you will need to own and live in a home until it becomes more financially advantageous than renting the same home" (with taxes, maintenance, utilities, inflation, etc. factored in). So for instance, you'd need to be planning to live in Glendale for 4.6 years for it to make sense for you to buy (because after 4.6 years, it's cheaper than renting). As the LA Times reports, LA and Orange Counties combined have a breakeven horizon of 4.3 years (assuming a 20 percent down payment). The longest breakeven horizon in SoCal is in Newport Beach--it'll take 14 years there before buying makes sense over renting. The shortest are in Lake Hughes, Littlerock, and Lancaster--with BEs of just 1.7 years. Go nuts with the buying, Lancasterians. After the jump, a sampling of other areas:

South Pasadena: 8.4 years
Santa Monica: 7.4 years
Manhattan Beach: 7.2 years
Marina del Rey: 5.9 years
Beverly Hills: 5.8 years
West Hollywood: 5.5 years
Culver City: 4.9 years
Malibu: 4.5 years
Signal Hill: 4.2 years
Los Angeles: 3.8 years
View Park-Windsor Hills: 3.7 years
Downey: 3.4 years
Santa Clarita: 3.1 years
Baldwin Park: 2.9 years
Bell: 2.8 years
Inglewood: 2.5 years
Pomona: 2.3 years
Compton: 2 years
· Should You Buy or Rent? We Do the Math for You [Zillow Blog]