TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Tampa Bay residents will pay less to buy a home than to rent in every Tampa Bay county but one, according to a recent report.

ATTOM Data Solutions found out whether renting or buying would be more fiscally responsible in 855 counties across the country. They did so by compiling rental data for three-bedroom properties in 2020 from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, as well as average weekly wage data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and 2019 home price data.

The data in home-buying took into consideration a 3 percent down payment, which is a standard minimum down payment in a conventional loan for buyers with a better-than-average credit score.

Manatee County stood alone as the only local county where it’s cheaper to rent than it is to buy. The average person spends 48.4 percent of their income on renting versus those who spend 53.9 percent of wages on purchasing a home.

In Pasco County, however, buyers saved significantly more money in the long run. The report found residents who buy spend only 34.8 percent of wages on the purchase. Renting counterparts spend 49.4 percent of their wages.

Other surrounding counties saw closer margins.

“For Sarasota County, it is cheaper to buy than rent (barely) because 45.5 percent of wages go to renting, whereas 45 percent of wages go to buying a home,” said ATTOM spokeswoman Jennifer von Pohlmann.

Hillsborough County, one of Tampa Bay’s biggest markets, saw less than a 2 percent difference in wages spent on housing between buyers and renters. According to the report, more than 35 percent of income is spent on a home purchase in Hillsborough County, while renters are spending nearly 37 percent of wages on housing.

Along with the data presented, ATTOM acknowledges that the housing market is difficult to navigate these days, regardless of whether buying or renting is the goal.

“For sure, either buying or renting is a financial stretch or out of reach for individual wage earners throughout most of the country in the current climate,” said Todd Teta, chief product officer with ATTOM Data Solutions. “But with interest rates falling, owning a home can still be the more affordable option, even as prices keep rising.”

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