Rent Control

Houston among few U.S. cities where renters actually save money, says new report

Houston among few U.S. cities where renters actually save money

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Houston renters save on average $66 per month. Tomasz Zajda/EyeEm/Getty Images

It's a timeless question: rent or buy? Thanks to a new report, we never have to think about this question again. (Kidding, kidding.)

A new joint report from real estate data provider PropertyShark and rental site RentCafe studied the savings of homeowners versus renters in the nation's 50 largest cities, and found some surprising trends. In general, renters are rarely able to save money — but that's not always the case.

Houston was one of only 12 cities in the country where renters are able to put away some cash every month, about $66 on average. Though it's the most expensive city in Texas, Austin came in at No. 1 among all Texas cities, and No. 2 in the U.S. (Only Virginia Beach, Virginia, with an average monthly saving of $883, fared better than Austin.)

Overall, renters in Texas are in better shape than most states. San Antonio grabbed the No. 2 spot — fifth in the nation — with a monthly savings of $163 per month. Fort Worth came in third in Texas with an average savings of $131 per month. After Houston, Dallas rounded out Texas' top five at $55 per month.

Now this isn't to say renters in these cities save more money than homeowners, rather just it's remarkable that they save any money at all. Those who own their homes are still in better financial shape than most renters, regardless of their city. 

In order to determine the savings for local homeowners, for example, the study used a $7,679 median monthly household income in Austin, then estimated $1,474 for housing costs and $3,767 for living expenses, leaving a surplus of $2,438 each month, the fifth highest surplus in the nation. Houston homeowners pocket $1,458 per month, according to the report. 

So why do renters save less than owners? They're more likely to be single. "It’s understandable that renters earn less and are usually single, while a higher percentage of owners are married and have a heftier income, but just by looking at the numbers and sometimes seeing thousand-dollar differences is staggering," says the report.

In some cities — like Boston — the discrepancy is so staggering it's virtually impossible for single renter to save anything. In fact, Bostonian renters lose on average about $2,244 per month.