Louisville Market Watch Residential

Rent or Buy in Louisville KY?

Photo of Home in Douglass Hills - Rent or Buy in Louisville KY

Finding rental houses is a challenge in a city like Louisville where apartments rule.

This is a big question. After all buying a home is a hugely important decision. Should you rent or buy in Louisville KY? That’s what we’re here for… to answer that very question.

But first, let’s get some perspective. Home ownership has been dropping since the mid 2000’s. According to Jones Lang LaSalle:

The United States continues to evolve into a nation of renters, with home ownership falling to its lowest rate since the end of 1967.

Put into chart form, it looks even more dire.

Chart of US Home Ownership over time - Rent or Buy in Louisville KY

Since the high of 2004, home ownership in the US has steadily declined.

The trend is clear. Fewer are buying. But is renting the best choice for you?

Location Matters

The location in question factors largely into the answer of this question. According to zumper.com, Louisville is the 59th most expensive city in their top 100 markets. Not bad but not great either.

Here’s how Louisville compares to some similar, regional cities in March.

Average Apartment Price
Rank City 1 Bedroom 2 Bedroom
24 Nashville $1,160 $1,300
59 Louisville $760 $810
65 Lexington $780 $930
70 Cincinnati $730 $950
71 St. Louis $690 $960
79 Knoxville $670 $800
92 Indianapolis $570 $680

Apartment prices are really affordable in Indy but Louisville? Not so much. (Zumper must take other things into consideration for their rankings because if they only used these two data points, the rankings would be different.)

Making the Best Rent or Buy Decision

Here’s the pivotal part of the equation: How long will you be living in Louisville? If your answer is more than 4 years, then buying rather than renting will save you money. The longer you stay in your house, the more you save.

Now… where did I get that number? It’s easy. Follow me!

Realtor.com has this handy-dandy Rent vs Buy Calculator that you can customize with your personal information.

First, I entered Louisville, KY for the location. Knowing that the average home sale price in February was $191,711, calculator I entered $190,000 for our desired home price.

Rent amount is a bit trickier but I estimated $1000. Understand, the 2-bedroom apartment you’ll get for $1000 won’t be nearly so large as the house but even that depends on the location of the houses.

Click the “Calculate” button and viola!

Rent or Buy in Louisville KY

The longer you plan to stay in one place, the more is makes sense to buy rather than rent.

Other Rent or Buy Considerations

Most people are focused primarily on the financials in this decision but that’s just a portion of the picture. Here are some other questions to answer when evaluating the rent or buy in Louisville KY question.

  • Do I need a yard for my kids or pets? But at the same time, do I enjoy maintaining this yard?
  • Getting large interest deductions on my taxes is a good thing. Paying those closing costs up front isn’t fun at all.
  • Property tax needs to be factored in when owning a house. Renters don’t have to worry about this.
  • Apartments are often located in more populated areas. Great for shopping and dining but privacy is far less.
  • What about storage? Houses have far more storage than apartments.
  • Homeowners insurance is more expensive than renters insurance because it covers the structure, as well as, your possessions. Renters insurance simply covers your possessions.

Now, the online calculators included some of these in its calculations but some of the others it simply couldn’t.

Just for fun, I looked at Zillow’s calculator and used the same criteria then arrived at a very similar result—”After 3 years and 8 months, buying will be cheaper than renting.”

Conclusion

When it’s all said and done, renting can be the right choice for you. Is your job situation uncertain? Could you already be dreaming about moving to a “place in the sun”? Is the maintenance a house requires a deal killer?

Certain answers to these questions could mean renting is the right choice.

When considering the “rent or buy in Louisville KY” question, buying is the better choice, especially if you’re planning on living in our city for 4 or more years.

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About the author

Tre Pryor, Editor-in-Chief

Tre Pryor is the recognized expert Louisville Realtor who can:
  • List and sell your current home in Louisville,
  • Help you purchase your next Louisville home, or
  • Guide you in your relocation to Louisville, Kentucky
» Contact Tre now!