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San Diego, Rent or Buy?

I'm looking for advice on whether to buy or rent in San Diego.  I will be moving at the end of this month, and I plan to move into a 3 or 4 bedroom place either in, or within 10-15 of area code 92101.  Type of home is not as important to me as the location. 

Here are the mitigating circumstances in my situation:
- I may not be in San Diego more than three years.
- I have been pre-approved, but only to $450k.  Not enough to find a 3 bedroom place in 92101. 
- I have very good credit
- My Employer will pay for many fees associated with closing costs if I purchase a home.
- My employer will help me sell my home or even buy it back when I receive new orders taking me elsewhere.  However, I've heard it does not guarantee you won't take a loss on the property.
- I own a home in elsewhere that I rent out.  It is paid off, but in the event I find myself in a period without a renter, I am looking at paying around $480/month for association dues and an assessment.

I know I will love San Diego, but I'm not sure I will be able to stay any longer than 3 years or so.  For that reason I need to buy a place that will be able to sell quickly when I get ready to leave.  With all of these things taken into consideration, am I smart to buy or should I plan to rent?

  • August 04 2012 - Golden Hill
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Answers (2)

With prices so low right now, you can spend more renting than you would on a mortgage payment! If you bought a home now, your payments would be going towards that mortgage. Like Jerry mentioned, you would also take advantage of the tax benefits. Then in three years, rent will be even higher while your mortgage payments are the same and you can make a cash flow renting it out and having the tenants pay off the mortgage.

Bottom line everyone: If you can afford to buy a home right now, do it!! Interest rates and home prices are screaming opportunity.
  • September 05 2012
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I think the housing market will be making a slow recovery over the next 3-5 years.  Renting is almost as expensive as buying at this time. Because of the large number of short sales and foreclosures, a lot of people have to rent and that is driving up the rental rates.
I would think that over a 3 year period you would be able to at least break even on the home and you will have some tax advantages with buying. There is also the possibility that the market will improve more than I anticipate. We are seeing small price increases that started about 6 months ago. Buying in the right area will be key. You want to be in a very desirable area.
If I were you I would spend some time looking at some homes and then make your decision.
  • August 04 2012
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