Does renting or buying a home make more financial sense in the Land of Lincoln? Nerdwallet, a consumer advocacy website based in San Francisco, recently published a study entitled “Should you rent vs. buy in Illinois?” The company crunched the numbers in 327 Illinois cities with populations over 5,000.  In Springfield, the verdict was clear. Buying is a better bet. The reasons given are twofold: owners spend less than renters and a low price-to-rent ratio of 13.49, which scores positively toward buying. Nerdwallet looked at recent data from the U.S. Census Bureau – numbers such as median household income and median home value. Then they calculated how many years of income it takes to save a 20 percent down payment.  They also looked at how much of a family’s income goes to rent and compared it with how much goes to ownership costs (mortgage, taxes, insurance, etc.). They also averaged price-to-rent ratios, the median home price divided by a year’s worth of rent. A lower ratio means the average family can buy a home in less time. Economists advise buying a home if the ratio is lower than 15, like Springfield’s 13.49. Renters here use 30.4 percent of their income for rent, making it one of Illinois most expensive cities for renting. However, they’re not giving houses away either: a median household must save 2.11 years of paychecks for a down payment.

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