Looking to buy a house in Florida? You might want to consider Collier and Lee counties, according to a recent survey.
Collier County ranked seventh among the best places to own a home in Florida versus renting, while Lee County came in 15th.
The question to buy or rent a home is the first hurdle for those looking to make a financially smart move.
Both options have their pros and cons, but a recent study by SmartAsset, a financial technology company, gathered data on average rents and home prices and compared buying to renting in every county in America to help those seeking to make a wise decision when moving.
SmartAsset’s study shows Collier’s average home price at $450,694. That translates to an average monthly mortgage cost of $1,712 for principal and interest. The average rent in Collier is $1,737, potentially making buying a wiser investment.
“This study looks at the time it takes for buying to become more cost-effective than renting,” said AJ Smith, vice president of Financial Education at SmartAsset. “So when the difference between the cost of buying and renting shrinks, the break-even year for a given county will drop as well. This helped Collier County rise in the rankings.”
In first place was DeSoto County, with an average home price of $131,112 and an average mortgage cost of $498 — almost a third of what it would cost to live in Collier, according to the study. The average monthly rent was $1,061.
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The study compared the total costs of buying and renting a typical home or rental in each county, for a household earning $100,000 a year, according to the SmartAsset website.
For the “buy” scenario, SmartAsset made the following assumptions: a mortgage rate of 4.5 percent, closing costs of $2,000 and a down payment of 20 percent.
For each county, SmartAsset calculated the break-even point in the buy versus rent decision — the point at which the total costs of renting become greater than the total costs of buying.
For those buying in Collier, the study estimated a break-even point occurring 18 months after purchasing a home.
Of the top 10 best places to own a home in Florida, Collier was the priciest, doubling and tripling the costs of other counties.
This is the first time Collier made the top 10 list for this study. The study had been done since 2015.
Best places to own a home in Florida:
County Avg. Mth. Mrtg. Avg. Mth. Rent Avg. Home Price Rent vs. Buy Ind.
1. DeSoto $498 $1,061 $131,112 98.4
2. Okeechobee $469 $1,089 $141,259 98.4
3. Bradford $469 $986 $123,586 98.1
4. Washington $505 $975 $132,980 98.1
5. Jackson $525 $936 $138,300 97.7
6. Hendry $432 $1,116 $113,858 97.4
7. Collier $1,712 $1,737 $450,694 97.2
8. Gadsden $782 $1,357 $127,913 95.8
9. Hardee $486 $1,047 $127,913 95.6
10. Duval $772 $1,336 $203,316 95.5