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      Owning a home is comparable to renting one

      With a struggling housing market, home prices are taking a beating, and Jillian Fisher's family is taking advantage.

      "It will be just as expensive renting as it would be to buy a house," said Fisher.

      Her and her husband decided to buy a house in the Forestbrook area of Horry County because they felt they were wasting their money. "We've been renting for years now and we just thought this was a good time to buy a house."

      The Fishers pay a little more a month in owning their home than they did in rent but say the little bit they do pay outweighs the idea of owning their own home.

      She says, "Whatever I want to do to it, whether it be painting the walls or doing whatever I want, and it's just the fact that I had my own home." They're one of the few families taking advantage of the struggling housing market.

      According to the real estate website in 74 percent of all major US cities, it's cheaper to buy a home right now than it is to rent.

      "These are real properties that are on the market now," says Myrtle Beach realtor John Winzenried. "These are not fictional properties. These are real properties ready to go now."

      He says buying and renting a home is nearly the same for most properties in our area. But in some cases, being a homeowner can save you money.

      "A six year old home with 1,900 square feet that's heated with a two car garage, you can get your mortgage around $900 a month."

      "Prices like these I haven't seen since the 90s," says mortgage lender Daniel Dickson. He's been around for both the housing boom and bust.

      "In the Carolina Forest or Forestbrook area," he says, "You're going to find rent that runs $900-$950, sometimes over a $1000. The prices for a house are running $119-$139,000, somewhere in that range. When you work up a payment on the FHA loan, it's going to be $950-$900 or less for lower prices. It's cheaper."

      He says the housing market is failing to turn around because people are unable to put up the money for a down payment. says the median sales price for a house in Myrtle Beach declined more than 13 percent in the second quarter of this year.

      But as Fisher stands in the lawn of her new home, she knows in the long run she's made the right choice for a family.

      "We found out that when we do our taxes at the end of the year, it will actually come out cheaper to own a home," she says.