In This Article

  1. What is Price to Rent Ratio?
  2. How to Calculate the Price to Rent Ratio
  3. How Real Estate Investors Use Price to Rent Ratio
  4. Other Uses for Price to Rent Ratio
  5. Where to Find Price to Rent Ratio Data
  6. Other Important Real Estate Investing Tools To Consider
  7. Price to Rent Ratio: The Bottom Line

There’s many questions that real estate investors, whether new or experienced, have on their mind. 

Two of those questions are:

What’s a good price to pay for this real estate investment? 

Once you’ve purchased your investment, you may wonder what’s a good rental price? 

Both of these common questions can be answered with one formula: the price to rent ratio. 

But what is the price to rent ratio? 

More importantly, how can it help you as a real estate investor?

In this article, we will discuss:

  • How to calculate the price to rent ratio
  • Where you can find price to rent ratio information
  • Additional real estate formulas 
  • And more

Let’s begin by defining the price to rent ratio. 

What is Price to Rent Ratio?

When calculated, the price to rent ratio will give you a number that indicates whether it’s cheaper to buy or rent a property in a specific market, which can help you, as a real estate investor, determine if it’s the right market for you to invest in. 

If the price to rent ratio is high, this means that renting is more feasible than purchasing a home in that market. 

That means for an investor it could be beneficial to own a rental property

The inverse is true: if the price to rent ratio is low, this means that it’s cheaper for someone to own a home in that market than to rent, leading to a smaller pool of potential renters. 

In this case, it may be difficult to find consistent tenants.  

Next, we’ll look at how to calculate the price to rent ratio. 

How to Calculate the Price to Rent Ratio

To calculate the price to rent ratio, simply take the median home price for a specific market and divide that number by the median yearly rent for that same market. 

The formula is as follows: 

Price to Rent Ratio = Average Property Price/Average Annual Rent

How Real Estate Investors Use Price to Rent Ratio

The price to rent ratio can be an extremely useful tool for a real estate investor to have in their back pocket. 

Let’s cover what exactly the price to rent ratio indicates. 

The price to rent ratio is divided into three different categories:

  • 15 or below
  • 16-20
  • 21+

We’ll look at each category next. 

Price to Rent Ratio: Score of 15 or Below

A score of 15 or below typically means to investors that home values are low, which makes the cost of homeownership significantly lower than in other areas. 

This means that renters will be harder to find. It also means the average rent will be on the lower end. 

Now, this isn’t to say this whole market is a wash. 

This could be a great entry-level market for a first-time home buyer, an investor looking for an owner-occupant situation like house hacking, or the opportunity to invest in a foreclosure

Price to Rent Ratio: Score of 16-20

A score of 16-20 typically means to a real estate investor that this market is optimal for a rental

This range typically indicates that home prices are high enough to sway people away from buying, leading to more renters. 

This can be a great market to invest in.

Price to Rent Ratio: Score of 21+ 

A score of 21+ means that the average home price in this market is too expensive for someone to buy in, making it much more feasible to rent

As an investor, you might think this is great news. But due to high average home prices, this can make it difficult to acquire a rental property, especially for a beginner real estate investor

This also comes with higher risk because you’re putting more money on the line. It can make turning a profit much more difficult as well. 

Other Uses for Price to Rent Ratio

The price to rent ratio also has other uses. Investors can use the formula to calculate how much they should pay for a home or how much they should charge for annual rent.

We’ll look at both next. 

Calculating the Best Price for a Property

To calculate the best price to pay for a property, you can rearrange the price to rent ratio by doing the following:

Average Home Price = Average Annual Rent / Price to Rent Ratio

Calculating Rental Market Rate

To calculate the market rental rate for a specific property, you can rearrange the price to rent ratio by doing the following:

Average Annual Rent = Average Home Price / Price to Rent Ratio

Where to Find Price to Rent Ratio Data

You don’t have to determine the price to rent ratio on every property you look at. The information is readily available — if you know where to look. 

The MLS has this information, and you can access it for free on Trulia and Zillow.

Other Important Real Estate Investing Tools To Consider

The price to rent ratio is just one of many tools that real estate investors use when looking at potential investments. 

Here are a few other formulas to keep in mind. 

Gross Rent Multiplier

Gross rent multiplier will help a real estate investor determine how long it will take a real estate investment to be paid off by the rent collected. 

You can learn more about the formula here

Cash-on-Cash Return

Cash-on-Cash return is used by real estate investors to calculate the cash flow generated by a property compared to the total amount of cash invested.

You can learn more about the formula here

Price to Rent Ratio: The Bottom Line

Price to rent ratio can help you determine whether or not a specific property is worth investing in. 

Keep in mind that when using the formula, mid-range price to rent ratios can be the sweet spot when it comes to real estate investing

These sweet spots are typically much stronger rental markets than markets with low price to rent ratios. 

Plus, they can be an easier and a less risky acquisition strategy than those markets with higher price rent ratios. 

Whether or not you decide to invest in a particular property, ensure that you are continuing your real estate education, which is the best way to make your next deal your most profitable one yet.