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Mayfair Renaissance Condo Begs the Question: Own or Rent?

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When we first stumbled upon this listing, we thought we might have inadvertently ended up on an apartment complex's website rather than on a for-sale condo listing. And given the proliferation of luxury condos in Midtown over the course of the last real estate boom, we could be forgiven for our mistake. The listing shows a well-maintained and clean unit, and while there is decent space and two balconies, the low-end galley kitchen and generally ho-hum floorplan left us wanting. Moreover, the unit simply can't compete with some of the other condo offerings out there. But it did bring us to ponder this most relevant question: would one rather own a condo with apartment-grade finishes, or just rent an apartment? While we acknowledge this is not a perfect apples-to-apples comparison, it's close enough. We offer a rough break down below.

195 14th Street N Unit 1408 [Estately]

BUY the 2 bed/2 bath Mayfair Condo
-assume $220,000 purchase price-
estimated mortgage payment: $843 per month (20% down payment, 30 year mortgage @ 4%)
taxes: approx. $280 per month ($3344 per year)
homeowner's insurance: approx. $60 per month
monthly HOA dues: approx $475 per month
Total per month: $1658
*does not factor value of mortgage interest deduction from taxes, appreciation over time

vs.

RENT a 2/2 Midtown apartment w/ similar square footage
* $1150-1265 at 1660 Peachtree