Interesting study from Zillow. It depends on where you live but here in L.A. the magic number is 4.3 years if you made a 20% downpayment. Because home prices and interest rates are low and rental prices are high, this is a great time to buy.
Of course these figures are for home ownership, not investing. Buying to rent pays off right away in the lower end of the real estate market.
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To learn what really works in today's real estate market CLICK HERE