If you're trying to save money, you may want to consider buying a home.
As contradictory as that may sound, renting cost 15 percent more than owning a home at the end of 2011, according to research by Deutsche Bank cited by The Wall Street Journal.
Historically, renting a home has been 10 percent cheaper than owning one. But as housing prices continue to plummet and the rental market heats up, affordable rent is becoming hard to come by. Apartment vacancies have fallen to a ten-year low, according to Reis, making rents more expensive.
A recent report by the National Low Income Housing Coalition found that the average American renter making $14.15 per hour needs to earn 29 percent more in wages in order to be able to afford an average apartment and have enough money left over for other expenses.
Someone earning minimum wage and working a 60-hour work week in any U.S. state could not afford to pay average rent, according to the report. In New York, California, and much of the Northeast, someone making minimum wage would have to work more than 100 hours per week in order to afford rent.
Despite mounting evidence that buying a home is cheaper than renting one, it still is hard for many to buy because banks have tightened their lending standards since the financial crisis, according to the Federal Reserve.
Wages also have been falling when adjusted for inflation, making homeownership more out of reach. The fraction of workers reporting zero wage change has reached its highest level in 30 years, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco. And workers' wages have been falling when adjusted for inflation. With so many unemployed people looking for work, many companies have decided they do not need to raise wages in order to keep their current workers.