My understanding here with the buy vs rent calculation is that if the non-equity costs of buying (the ITI in PITI + HOA fees + maintenance) exceed what it would cost to rent something equivalent, then it favors renting. Does this apply in VHCOL areas as well?

Our area is like this, where renting a 2-3BR place (in a good/safe part of the city) is $5k-6k per month, and then buying a similar place is upwards of $1.5M (seems like it goes up even more each month) and so the raw math does work in favor of renting. But are there other benefits to buying that go beyond the simple numbers, which we should consider? It does hurt to put that much $$ into rent each month, but we can definitely afford buying or renting in this area and still hit our savings goals ($600-800k household income which is projected to go higher in the next few years, minimal debt remaining, relatively frugal lifestyle).

It makes sense to buy as we start to expand our family and plan to stay at least 5 years in this area; I just want to make sure we're considering all the appropriate factors since the numbers don't seem to be working out as well. I can't really see the housing market going down (maybe it'll go up at a slower rate, but certainly not down), so I must be missing some additional benefit to buying.

Our area is like this, where renting a 2-3BR place (in a good/safe part of the city) is $5k-6k per month, and then buying a similar place is upwards of $1.5M (seems like it goes up even more each month) and so the raw math does work in favor of renting. But are there other benefits to buying that go beyond the simple numbers, which we should consider? It does hurt to put that much $$ into rent each month, but we can definitely afford buying or renting in this area and still hit our savings goals ($600-800k household income which is projected to go higher in the next few years, minimal debt remaining, relatively frugal lifestyle).

It makes sense to buy as we start to expand our family and plan to stay at least 5 years in this area; I just want to make sure we're considering all the appropriate factors since the numbers don't seem to be working out as well. I can't really see the housing market going down (maybe it'll go up at a slower rate, but certainly not down), so I must be missing some additional benefit to buying.

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