The LA Times has a message for all those people getting discouraged in the attempt to buy their first homes: relax, you might be better off renting. While investors and other folks sitting on piles of cash may have been driving home prices up in record-breaking fashion, rents for single-family homes fell 4.1 percent in the last quarter. Meanwhile, 6,000 new apartments are expected to hit the market by the end of the year, and the average rent stayed flat in the second quarter (though it rose 2.2 percent to $1,652 in the past 12 months). In Downtown LA, rents are down 5 percent. Contrast that to sale prices, which are up 29 percent in a year. Says Richard Green, director of USC's Lusk Center for Real Estate, "a year ago, it was an easy call to buy [instead of rent]. Now it's sort of a pick 'em call." But hey, if you just bought a house in LA County, fear not: according to a Trulia study, as long as you stay for seven years before selling, the real estate site's research says you'll have saved 26 percent over renting a similar property.
· Southern California renters have an edge over home buyers [LAT]
· State O' The Market Archives [Curbed LA]