In the old days, and we are not talking that old, renting was usually viewed as a cheaper alternative to buying. How times have change. Today, it's actually cheaper to buy than to rent in the major U.S. cities, according to data released by Trulia Research in its Summer 2012 Rent vs. Buy Report.

Trulia's report doesn't simply compare a monthly mortgage payment to a monthly rent payment. It factors in all cost components, including transaction costs, upkeep, taxes, and opportunity costs. With a 3.5% fixed-rate mortgage, itemized deductions at the 25% federal tax bracket, and a seven-year time horizon, home ownership is cheaper than renting in all of the 100 largest U.S metropolitan regions Trulia follows.

We are not talking about small differences either. In fact, in many of the markets Trulia tracks the differences are quite staggering. 

Even in more fashionable districts, the difference remains pronounced: Buying a home is 24% cheaper than renting in Honolulu, 28% cheaper in San Francisco, and 31% cheaper in New York.

If potential clients need another reason why they should consider buying over renting, Trulia's report could prove quite persuasive. If they need another reason, just point to today's ulta-low lending rates.

Courtesy of Jessica Regan.

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