published on March 14, 2016 - 9:49 PM
Written by The Business Journal Staff

According to a new study from SmartAsset, a New York City-based financial technology company, Madera and Fresno counties are among the best places to own a home in California.

SmartAsset’s second-annual study compares average rent and home prices in counties across the U.S. in order to find the places where buying rather than renting makes the most sense.

Madera County came in third in the study and Fresno County was ranked the fifth-best city to own homes in the Golden State.

The SmartAsset study calculated that it takes a Madera County homeowner 3 years to break even in terms of the overall costs of buying a home versus paying rent, with the average monthly mortgage payment pegged at $938 compared to an average monthly rent of $1,366.

The study said the average home price in Madera is currently $231,291, giving the county a 79.9 score on its rent vs. buy index.

Sierra County, which ranked first in the study, had a breakeven score of 2.1 years and an index score of 89.4.

For Fresno County’s newest homeowners, the study calculated that it will take 3.3 years to break even, using an average monthly mortgage payment of $823 versus an average monthly rent cost of $1,266.

According to the study, the average home price in Fresno County currently stands at $203,117, giving the county a rent vs. buy index score of 77.1.

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