April 2008, Dean Baker, Danilo Pelletiere and Hye Jin Rho

This report compares the ownership and rental costs in 20 major U.S. metropolitan areas. The study finds that in many markets, homeownership costs are in line with rental costs.  In these areas, it is practical and desirable to focus on policies that keep homeowners in their homes. The report goes on to show that in bubble- inflated markets, however, homeownership is not only a costly and risky proposition, but continuing price declines mean that homeowners will not accrue any equity. The authors suggest that policy makers should be sure to consider affordable rental options as part of the solution when drafting proposals to help households in these markets.

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