Interactive map shows best places to buy or rent a home in Bergen County – The Star-Ledger

An interactive map shows the Zillow Breakeven Horizon for Bergen County towns. The darker areas show where it might be more cost-effective to rent, while the lighter areas show where it might be better to buy. Click each town for more details.

BERGEN COUNTY — If you’re planning to live in Hackensack more than three years, it’s more cost-effective to buy than rent.

Meanwhile, unless you plan to live in Ridgewood for more than five years, renting is a better idea than buying.

This is according to a metric called the Breakeven Horizon. Developed by researchers at the Zillow online real estate database, the Breakeven Horizon measures how long one would have to live in a house to make buying it more effective than renting it.

Zillow’s analysis tries to incorporate all the costs of owning a home versus renting a home. Click here for a full explanation of their methodology raquo

We made an interactive map using Google Fusion tables to depict the Breakeven Horizons for municipalities in Bergen County. The darker areas represent longer Breakeven Horizons, where it might be wiser to rent, while the lighter areas show where it might be better to buy.

Of course, there are some caveats when looking at these numbers in Bergen County. For example, the longest Breakeven Horizon is in Old Tappan, where it would take 5.2 years to make buying a home more cost-effective than renting.

But either is expensive. One three-bedroom house listed on Zillow was renting for $4,950 a month, while a three-bedroom house listed for sale had an asking price of $819,000.

Buying has become more affordable since the housing bust, while the median rent in New Jersey increased 8 percent last year. The disparity has drawn investors to rental housing, the Star-Ledger reported, though high taxes and fees in New Jersey will likely keep the market from booming.

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