Fortune: It makes more financial sense to rent than buy today in many U.S. cities, according to the latest data from Moody’s Analytics. After declining during the depths of the latest recession, prices for rentals nationwide increased modestly by about 3% in 2010, partly driven by a record number of homeowners looking for new digs after foreclosing on their homes. In Moody’s latest list of rent ratios (which is the price of a typical home divided by the annual cost of renting that home) for 54 U.S. metropolitan areas, 39 fell into the ‘better to rent’ category — roughly the same level it’s been for the past year.
But that may finally be about to change. Moody’s chief economist Mark Zandi expects the trend to reverse this year in many major cities. This would be a positive development, as a healthy housing market typically puts renting and owning at more equal footing.
“By mid 2011 and certainly by end of 2011, buying will be superior to renting in most parts of the country,” Zandi says.
A few factors will be at play. For one, home prices are expected to fall further, with some economists expecting a 15% to 30% drop this year. Read more at Fortune.…..