There are a few homes starting to appear that could actually be good buys versus renting. So far these are in the outer areas of the IE, but even so they would still probably be cheaper (or close to it) to buy that to rent an equivalent house.
I found 4 (all bank owned) in the tract that sits below the dam holding back Lake Perris. The last time I drove through this tract it looked quite nice. It's all fairly new with a fancy entrance gate, nice parks and landscaping. It's in a handy location right off the Ramona Expressway with easy access to the 215 fwy. Probably not a bad place to live for a young family. Of course this assumes you don't mind living below a dam holding back a huge lake. A dam, that by the way they are worried about failing if there is ever a 7.5 earthquake. Since there is a major fault line running through the badlands just a few miles east of the lake, I'd say a big earthquake is a distinct possibility. Because of this flaw in the dam they reduced the level of the lake last year. And they are STILL building homes right below that sucker! But the biggest problem is that this area is foreclosure central.
Anyway back to the houses. To rent a decent 3 bedroom home in that area is about $1500/mo. These 4 homes are all listed under $225k. That would give a payment of roughly 1150/mo assuming 210k financed at 5.5%. Add in some property tax ($200/mo), insurance ($150/mo) and you end up at roughly $1500/mo. Now being a homeowner you get to write off that interest which would net you some tax savings. That would reduce the net cost by about $225/mo. That savings would cover maintenance and the $80/mo HOA fee. So these properties are very close to being a wash versus renting. The big "IF" is that IF the property values continue to decline then you would be losing money. I doubt you could buy these and make any money renting them unless you put a fair amount down but someone could buy these and live in them for about the same cost as renting. You gotta ask yourself, do you feel lucky. Well, do ya punk? Feel like betting those prices won't drop anymore?
Here are the homes,
1739 Benedetto, 4 bedroom, 2.75 bath, 2252 sqft. Purchased for $305k in June 2004. Now listed for $209k ($93 sq/ft) (Being a 4 bedroom this house might rent for more that $1500)
1449 Avila Dr, 3 bedroom, 2.5 bath, 2677 sqft. Purchased for $385k June 2006. Now listed for $215K ($80 sq/ft)
3275 El Nido pl, 3 bed, 2.5 bath, 2296 sq/ft. Purchased for $396 in Nov 2006. Now listed for $207k (90 sq/ft). A 48% loss in 16 months
2054 Mount Verdugo, 4 bed, 3 bath, 2731 sq/ft, Purchased for $435k in June 2006. Now listed for $221k ($81 sq/ft). That is a 49% drop in 18 months! This is a nice looking house, too bad it's in Perris. Again I doubt you could rent this home for $1500. It's 4 bedrooms and fairly large. This one would probably rent for closer to $2k, making buying it far cheaper than renting it. From the pics the house looks nice but the last owners did take the stove and dishwasher with them. The rest of the house looks good in the pics.