You have just taken a job that requires you to move to a new city. In relocating, you face the decision of whether to buy or rent a house. A suitable house costs $300,000 and you have saved enough for the down payment. The (nominal) mortgage interest rate is 10?/o per year, and you can also earn 10?/o per year on savings.
Mortgage interest payments are tax deductible, interest earnings on savings are taxable, and you are in a 30?/o tax bracket. Interest is paid or received, and
taxes are paid, on the last day of the year. The expected inflation rate is 5?/o per year.
The cost of maintaining the house (replacing worn out roofing, painting, and so on) is 6?/o of the value of the house. Assume that these expenses also are paid entirely
on the last day of the year. If the maintenance is done, the house retains its full real value. There are no other relevant costs or expenses.
a. What is the expected after-tax real interest rate on the home mortgage?
b. What is the user cost of the house?
c. If all you care about is minimizing your living expenses, at what (annual) rent level would you be just indifferent between buying a house and renting a house of comparable quality? Rent is also paid on the last day of the year.
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