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Renting might be cheaper than buying a home in 2017

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Renting might be a little cheaper than buying a home in Fresno County this year, according to a rental affordability report released Thursday.

The 2017 estimated monthly rental payment on a three-bedroom home in Fresno is $1,346, up from $1,296 last year, according to Attom Data Solutions, the new parent company of RealtyTrac. In 2016, the monthly mortgage payment on a median-priced home in Fresno was $1,361.

If mortgage rates continue to rise, “renters who have not yet made the leap to homeownership will find it even more difficult to make that leap this year,” said Daren Blomquist, senior vice president “Additionally, renting may end up being the lesser of two housing affordability evils in a growing number of high-priced markets.”

Fresno is one of the most affordable areas of California to buy a home. But home prices, although low in Fresno, are rising faster than rent and employment wages, the report said.

Renting is more affordable than buying a home in 34 percent of the counties analyzed nationwide for the report including Los Angeles County and San Diego County. On the flip side, buying is still more affordable in 66 percent of the markets.

BoNhia Lee: 559-441-6495, @bonhialee

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