New research shows that home ownership tends to be a smarter decision than renting for many Americans, particularly now when rental costs are skyrocketing.

The monthly payment on a median priced home is more affordable than the monthly fair market rent on a three-bedroom property in 76 percent of the U.S. counties, according to RealtyTrac’s Residential Rental Property Analysis, which encompassed 461 counties nationwide with populations of at least 100,000.

Read more: Buying Is Cheaper Than Renting in Most Places

Home ownership may not be for everyone. But for many, it makes sense.

Lawrence Yun, NAR's chief economist, says that families with home ownership tend to have a much higher net worth overall than renters. Home owners have the benefit from equity and long-term price appreciation.

At NAR's Economists' Outlook blog, the following chart is shown in responding to buyers concerns over "I can’t afford to buy!"

After all, the "home owner with a 30-year mortgage payment has a paid-off home after 30 years; the renter has a nice stack of 360 rental receipts," analysts note at NAR’s Economists' Outlook blog. Housing analysts also note the lifestyle and social benefits to home ownership, with studies showing that home ownership tends to lead to better education achievement by children and an increase in community involvement.

Source: "Using NAR Research to Address Prospective Buyer Concerns 'Why not rent? I Can’t Afford to Buy!'" National Association of REALTORS® Economists' Outlook blog (April 10, 2015)