Zillow reports that, on average, rent can make up around 41.6 percent of the income of service members who want to live off base – compared to 30 percent for civilians nationwide.
Buying is cheaper, as military households usually pay around 31.5 percent of their income toward mortgage payments. But this is twice the amount of share civilians pay, and the high-mobility demands of a military career means buying may not make much financial sense.
The numbers vary greatly by market. In San Diego, service members living off base should expect to pay 65.5 percent of their income on mortgage payments or 59.6 percent on rent, while at Fort Hood, Texas, they would pay just 15.1 percent of their income for a mortgage or 29.1 percent on rent.