When is buying better than renting in Seattle?
Seattle's average breakeven horizon is 1.9 years. (Image: Kristi Waite / Seattle Refined)

When is buying better than renting in Seattle?

Zillow released new data showing that in the greater Seattle metro area, it makes more sense financially to buy if you're planning on living in a home for more than 1.9 years. 

This matches pretty well with national averages showing that in most of the United States metro areas, buying beats renting after two years.

Zillow's breakeven horizon analysis aims to give the exact point in time, per city and neighborhood, that a person can expect to "break even" with their rent payments, at which time buying would become more financially advantageous. 

For example, the breakeven horizon of San Francisco is 2.8 years, meaning if you're house hunting and you're planning on living in that home at least 2.8 years...you should probably think about buying. 

Here's a breakdown of some Seattle area neighborhoods' breakeven horizons:

  • Medina - 15.7 years
  • Madison Park - 5.8 years
  • Laurelhurst - 4 years
  • Montlake - 3.7 years
  • Downtown Seattle - 3.4 years
  • Mercer Island - 3.2 years
  • Capitol Hill - 3 years
  • Greenlake - 2.9 years
  • Queen Anne - 2.8 years
  • Wallingford - 2.8 years
  • Fremont - 2.6 years
  • Redmond - 2.4 years
  • Bellevue - 2.2 years
  • Belltown - 2 years
  • Newcastle - 1.7 years
  • Beacon Hill - 1.6 years
  • Tukwila - 1.4 years
  • Auburn - 1.2 years

Your neighborhood not on the list? Check out their interactive map

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