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Is now the time to buy or rent a home? Here are 5 factors to consider


In what may be an overheated residential real estate market in South Florida, it’s tougher to decide whether to buy a home or rent. Costs for both have skyrocketed in the past year or so with no relief. Mortgage officers at Tropical Financial Credit Union can walk you through the numbers on home loans. You also need to understand which choice fits your life plans.

Rents climbed by nearly 30% in one year in some parts of South Florida, according to an April report from Zumper, which used data from the Multiple Listing Service and other sources. Rents jumped 29% in Hialeah, 24% in Hollywood, and 17% in Lake Worth Beach and Sunrise.


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In Sunny Isles Beach, the median monthly rent for just a one-bedroom apartment was $2,900. Miami was slightly less expensive at $2,800.

Those numbers might make you think homes are a better bargain. Not so. According to the Miami Associate of Realtors, the median sales price of a single-family home in Miami-Dade County rose in May to $620,000. That was up 7.8% from a year earlier. Prices were flat year to year in Broward County at $585,000.

With a 10% downpayment on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage at 7%, the monthly payment in Miami-Dade would be $3,712. In Broward, it would be $3,113. That’s before property taxes, property insurance, private mortgage insurance, and any homeowner association fees. Find out how much you can afford with Tropical Financial’s mortgage qualifier calculator.

Given that rents and home prices in South Florida are above those in most other metropolitan areas, what should you do? Here are five things to think about:

  1. Market conditions: Will the South Florida housing market remain red-hot or follow previous cycles where prices ballooned and popped? You don’t want to buy at the top of the market, but who knows when that will occur? Renting allows you to avoid the risks associated with a volatile real estate market and gives you a chance to buy when homes are more affordable. Bet wrong on the market, and you will have missed out on an opportunity before prices reach another high.
  1. Career and lifestyle: Do you plan to stay in South Florida for the next year? Five years? Ten years? What would keep you here and what might cause you to move? With the rise of remote work, many people are renting so that they can easily move for career and personal reasons. If you’re happy with your job and see a long-term future in the region, then the stability that comes with owning a home makes more sense.
  1. Available savings: With home prices at record levels, a 20% downpayment to avoid private mortgage insurance will require six figures. There are also closing costs to consider, and Tropical Financial can help with those. Through August 8, the credit union is offering home buyers $500 off of closing costs. You can also get help finding a home and receive Cash Rewards at closing through the Home Advantage program.
  1. Maintenance and repairs: When you rent and something goes wrong, you call the landlord. When you own a home, you find the repair person. Conversely, when you want to upgrade the kitchen or a bathroom, you get all the benefits because you own the property. You select the appliances, colors and materials. Want a private pool and patio? You can use the equity in your home to finance it.
  1. Financial benefits: The federal tax system rewards homeownership. You can deduct mortgage interest and property taxes from your itemized annual return. Home improvements can offset some of the profit earned from selling your residence. With rent, 100% of your money goes out the door, and none of it related to personal use comes off your taxes.

Whether renting or selling your home and buying a new one, read this quick guide from Tropical Financial and find the latest mortgage rates. And when shopping for a mortgage, consider Tropical Financial. Membership is open to residents of Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach, Martin, St. Lucie, Collier, Hendry, Lee and Sarasota counties. To learn more, visit here.

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