'Evangelist' Renter: Time to Buy

NYT analyst says buying begins to make sense again
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted May 28, 2008 8:32 AM CDT
Housing prices are on the slide, making buying start to look more attractive for people put off buying by the housing bubble of recent years.   (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – As property prices head back down, a self-proclaimed "evangelist" of renting is trading in the lease for a mortgage. David Leonhardt of the New York Times has been advising people for years not to buy a home and get their money tied up in a housing bubble, but he now believes buying is starting to make sense again.

Leonhardt divides the sale price of houses with the annual rent of similar houses for rent. The average "rent ratio" nationwide was 10 to 14 for most of the '70s, '80s, and '90s, but jumped to 19 by the height of the housing boom in 2006, and soared over 30 in some places. Leonhardt thinks the market could get even better, but emphasizes that would-be buyers should look for home, sweet home first, and an investment second.