We're all aware that the housing market, well, stinks right now. With an excess of supply and lowered demand, it's a buyer's market - but is that true everywhere? Here are 10 cities where renting rules. If you live here, you may be better off writing your landlord a check than taking on a mortgage. (Find out how to profit from your property when the housing market dips. See Can't Sell Your Home? Rent It.)

IN PICTURES: 5 Steps To Attaining A Mortgage

  1. New York
    Average List Price: $1,879,000
    New York: if you can make it there, you can make it anywhere, right? That certainly holds true for real estate, because the average home price in the Big Apple is nearly $2 million. Rent is high too, but it still makes more sense than owning a home: According to Trulia, New York City's rent-to-buy index is 35, meaning that it would take 35 years of renting before you match homeowners' expenses. That rent check may make you cringe, but it beats paying a mortgage in New York.

  2. Seattle
    Average List Price: $585,073
    While the rest of the country is upside-down on their mortgage, Seattle has been a fairly stable housing market. With ample jobs and desirable location, the average home lists at over half a million dollars - a stiff mortgage check to write if you're a homeowner. If you factor in homeowner expenses and tax benefits, this city has a rent-to-buy index of 31. Considering you'll have to hang tight for more than three decades to beat renting in Seattle, paying the landlord is downright financially savvy in this city.

  3. Fort Worth
    Average List Price: $207,730
    Although real estate prices are reasonable in most of Texas, Fort Worth is an exception to this rule. The rent-to-buy index for Forth Worth is a whopping 30 - so you can be a proud renter if you call this Longhorn State city home. Ample jobs are expected, keeping real estate prices relatively high in Fort Worth.

  4. Omaha
    Average List Price: $193,260
    You may be surprised to find Omaha on this top-10 list of rent-favoring cities, but Omaha's real estate has held strong at a time when the housing market is hurting most every other city. Low unemployment is a big draw, putting the rent-to-buy index at 25 in this Nebraska city. (Investing in rental property can generate serious income, but there's more to it than collecting rent. Check out Tips For The Prospective Landlord.)

  5. Sacramento
    Average List Price: $217,894
    California has been one of the states hardest hit by the bursting housing bubble. Sacramento is one city where homeownership is still a pricey option, however: with a rent-to-buy index at 23, renters can sit back and count their financial blessings each month.

  6. Kansas City
    Average List Price: $201,769
    Kansas City is another surprising city on this list, but with a rent-to-buy index at 23, renting is clearly the smarter way to go in this city. Though home prices vary wildly, like in many other cities listed here, home prices have actually increased slightly in Kansas City in recent months. A slightly stronger-than-average job market is attributed to this trend.

IN PICTURES: 5 "New" Rules For Safe Investing

  1. Portland
    Average List Price: $372,096
    Portland has been a desirable place to live in America, and has held strong economically through the recession. Although rent isn't cheap either, owning a home is still an expensive proposition in this cool Oregon city: the rent-to-buy ratio is at 22 for Portland, making renting the smart way to go. According to Trulia, a price-to-rent ratio of 21 or over signals that it may be more worth your buck to rent rather than buy.

  2. San Diego
    Average List Price: $582,990
    San Diego is another California city where it makes more sense to rent. Not only are average home prices well over half a million - tough to mortgage for the average person - the rent-to-buy index is at 21 for this ocean-side city. Renters can rejoice in San Diego.

  3. San Francisco
    Average List Price: $1,116,533
    Got a million bucks and money to spare? Then San Francisco may be the place for you to buy a home; otherwise, renting is the better option. Rent-to-buy is indexed at 21 for the City by the Bay, so relax if you're paying a landlord in San Francisco - you're actually being wise with your money.

  4. Boston
    Average List Price: $726,485
    Buying a home is not cheap in Bean Town: you'd better have some money or a sizeable paycheck to sign a mortgage contract. Like in most cities, renting comes at a cost too - though in Boston, your rent-to-buy index is 20. (There are a number of factors, aside from cost, that you should think about before buying a new house. To learn more, read Are You Ready To Buy A House?)

Bottom Line
We've all been taught that homeownership means you've arrived, but the recent downturn in the housing market has made everyone reevaluate that rule. Many of these cities share a stronger-than-average job market, making them desirable places to live. Whether you live in one of these cities, elsewhere, or plan a move, do your homework before thinking buying a home is your next step. Sometimes, renting means you're financially savvy - something we all aspire to these days.

Editors' note: All list price info is based on average weekly list prices obtained from Trulia.com.

For the latest financial news, see Water Cooler Finance: Lions And Diapers And Dows, Oh My!

Related Articles
  1. Investing Basics

    Top 10 Features Of A Profitable Rental Property

    Owning rental property is a tough business. Here are 10 things you should consider before investing in an income property.
  2. Real Estate

    The 5 Best Real Estate Lawyers in Boston

    Discover some of the best real estate lawyers working in Boston, and read more about their legal experience and special practice areas.
  3. Retirement

    Real Estate Rents Can Fund Your Retirement

    Rental properties can provide a steady source of income in retirement, but it’s not an effortless investment.
  4. Investing

    New York City Real Estate: A Safe Haven?

    New York City real estate is pricey, but is it investment-grade?
  5. Real Estate

    The 5 Best Real Estate Lawyers in Manhattan

    Learn about some of the top lawyers practicing residential and commercial real estate law in Manhattan, and read more about what legal services they offer.
  6. Economics

    New York's Economy: The 6 Industries Driving GDP Growth

    Learn about the six most influential industries in New York, the most economically productive city in the country, and home of Wall Street and Fifth Avenue.
  7. Retirement

    3 Luxurious New York Retirement Communities

    Discover why retirees are attracted to New York as a retirement destination, and learn more about three of the most luxurious communities in the state.
  8. Retirement

    Budgeting Tips: Living in Costa Rica on $1,000 a Month

    Explore the cost of living in Costa Rica, and learn how you could sustain a nice middle-class lifestyle for yourself on about $1,000 a month.
  9. Entrepreneurship

    10 New York City Startups That Emerged This Century

    Understand why the startup scene has grown, and discover why it has become a large part of New York City. Learn about the top 10 New York City startups.
  10. Forex Fundamentals

    Top 5 US Cities That Accept Bitcoin

    Discover why bitcoins are a popular form of payment among many consumers, and learn the top five cities in the United States that accept this currency.
RELATED FAQS
  1. How does a cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) affect my salary?

    Some companies build salary adjustments into their compensation structures to offset the effects of inflation on their employees. ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. Does renters insurance cover storage units?

    An all-perils renters insurance policy provides coverage for the contents of storage units. Most policies limit the amount ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. Does renters insurance cover mold?

    An all-perils renters insurance policy typically provides a low set amount of coverage for damage caused by mold as long ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. Does renters insurance cover theft?

    An all-perils renters insurance policy provides worldwide theft coverage for personal property after a claim exceeds the ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. Does renters insurance cover dog bites?

    A renters insurance policy typically provides liability coverage, up to policy limits, for dog bites unless the coverage ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. Does renters insurance cover bike theft?

    The theft of bicycles is covered under a renters insurance policy up to the insured limits. The theft should be reported ... Read Full Answer >>
Trading Center