There is now a quick-and-easy solution to your rent-versus-buy conundrum.
It's called the "breakeven horizon," and it's the number of years you will need to own a home before you break even and start to profit off of it.
For example, let's say you want to move to West Hollywood for just a few years. Because the city's breakeven horizon is 5.5 years, you'd be better off just renting unless you plan to stay for longer.
LA and Orange County's average breakeven horizon is 4.3 years, assuming a 20 percent down payment, the Times reports. In general, the wealthier a neighborhood, the more years you have to own a home before you break even.
Check out the interactive map below to compare breakeven horizons around the nation, and scroll down to see a list of Southern California's lowest and highest "horizons."
Click through a sampling of LA neighborhoods' breakeven horizons, starting with the lowest and ending with the highest:
Lancaster - 1.7 years
Palmdale - 2 years
Azusa - 2.8 years
Los Angeles - 3.8 years
Burbank - 4.1 years
Culver City - 4.9 years
Manhattan beach - 7.2 years
South Pasadena - 8.4 years
San Marino - 11.4 years
Newport Beach - 14 years