The article considers the problem of choosing between the ownership of residential real estate and its rental as a solution to the investment problem. The purpose of the article is to formalize this task using only financial variables (without explicitly including non-monetary preferences) and testing it on real Russian data on real estate and mortgage lending markets. The results can be used: a) at the household level, which usually poorly take into account the financial side of the decision; b) at the level of macroeconomic policy to predict the dynamics of the mortgage market. We identified the following key model parameters: the expected rate of growth in housing and rental prices, mortgage interest, and the planned period of real estate ownership. The model demonstrates that for an average of Moscow or Russian housing with enough period of ownership, the purchase is generally more profitable in the current macroeconomic conditions. However, if the forecast for the dynamics of changes in housing prices worsens, when the nominal price increase is 5-8% lower than the discount rate, the answer may change in favor of renting. This is especially true in connection with the negative dynamics of real prices in the Russian housing market.
Keywords: rental property, mortgage, tenure choice, household finance, valuation, real estate, house prices.
JEL codes: D1, D84, G12, G17, R21, R31.