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This post was written by Andy Kirk, founder and editor of visualisingdata.com. Andy will be guest editing Information Aesthetics for a short period while Andrew takes a well earned break.

In these challenging financial times one of the key decisions we are faced with is whether to rent or to buy a house. This appears to be a particularly resonant issue in the US and now Trulia, an agency focused on discovering house-hunting trends and insights, have produced a visualization [insights.truliablog.com] to explore this issue across major US cities. Specifically, they looked to compare the cost of renting against the cost of buying a two-bedroom apartment, condo or townhouse to see which option would work out the most expensive

Their headline conclusion is that that homeownership is the chearper choice in 74% of major US cities. New York is, unsuprisingly, the most expensive location in which to buy a house constrasted Las Vegas is the most affordable.

The visualization also plots a number of indicators relating to housing prices, foreclosure activity and job opportunities, with figures for January, April and July 2011 presented for trend context.

You can read more about Trulia's analysis of the housing market on their associated blog post.

See also:
- Tender Noise: Sensing and Mapping the Ambient Noise in San Francisco
- Trulia Crime Maps: Visualizing Where Crime Happens in U.S. Cities
- Mapping the Average Time, Amount and Likelihood US Houses Drop in Price