Range on rental cost in area is wide

June 06, 2008

How much does it cost to rent a place around here? That depends entirely on what you mean by "here."

M/PF YieldStar, which tracks apartment buildings, says the average rent for a two-bedroom in downtown Baltimore is about $2,020 a month. Elsewhere in the city, it's slightly more than $930. Big difference.

Costs range widely in the rest of the region, too.

In the Towson area, expect to pay in the neighborhood of $1,140 for a two-bedroom apartment, according to M/PF YieldStar's research.

In other suburban areas:

* Eastern Baltimore County: $880.

* Western Baltimore County: $980.

* Northern Anne Arundel County: $1,220.

* Annapolis/Davidsonville: $1,290.

* Ellicott City/Columbia: $1,220.

M/PF YieldStar says its surveys include buildings with at least five units, but in general the figures are drawn from sizable complexes.

This area has a lot of condominiums, rowhouses and houses for rent, so the full spectrum of opportunities includes properties that are cheaper - and more expensive - than traditional apartments.

Monthly rent across the metropolitan area, says M/PF YieldStar, was about $1,080 in March for a two-bedroom. How does that compare with owning? If you bought the average home in March ($298,000) and put 10 percent down, you'd be paying about $1,780 in principal and interest each month. (E-Loan calculates the principal-and-interest cost as more like $1,390 a month once you figure in the income tax savings, but that doesn't include property taxes, insurance or maintenance costs.)

Of course, the average apartment and the average home aren't necessarily comparable. Tenants: How do local buying opportunities look versus your rental costs?

Let me know at jamie.smith. hopkins@baltsun.com.

Find Jamie's blog at baltimore sun.com/realestatewonk.

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