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There are now only 4 major U.S. cities where buying is cheaper than renting

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A for sale sign is posted in a multi-story gray stucco house with red terra cotta roof shingles.

Even if monthly mortgage payments are higher than comparable rent, "you get the benefit of building up wealth," said Daryl Fairweather, chief economist at Redfin. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

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Mortgage rates are up again, averaging over 7% for a 30-year fixed right now. As interest rates have gone up, buying a home has gotten less affordable

There are now only four major cities in the country — Detroit, Philadelphia, Cleveland and Houston — where it’s cheaper to buy than rent, according to new data from Redfin.

Finding a place to live is hard these days in most of the country. “Whether you’re looking at urban or suburban, whether you’re looking at a for-sale property, a for-rent property,” said Ali Wolf, chief economist at the housing data and consultancy firm Zonda.

Everything is just expensive, she said. “There has been so much growth in home prices and rents across the board. There’s not really any escape.”

In most cities, the amount you pay per month is likely to be lower if you rent than if you buy right now‚ including in markets where it’s traditionally been the opposite. That’s largely because mortgage rates have doubled in the last year or so.

“That added cost of borrowing can add up to hundreds or even thousands of dollars extra a month,” said Daryl Fairweather, chief economist at Redfin.

Even if your monthly mortgage payment is higher than comparable rent, she said there are often still advantages to buying.

“With homeownership, you get the benefit of building up wealth, and the home could go up in value,” Fairweather said. “But when the gap becomes really big, then it’s hard to justify it.”

And the gap is big right now — nationally, it’s about 25% more expensive to buy than to rent. But both Fairweather and Wolf say that won’t always be the case. If mortgage rates come down, the equation is likely to change.

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