Is it cheaper to rent or buy?

Deciding whether to rent or buy is never an easy decision, especially in such a dynamic housing market. Buying a home is a huge commitment, but it's also a great investment. On the other hand, renting is a lot less restrictive than owning. The key question is: which is the cheapest option?

Benefits of renting

The best thing about renting is that it can be both a long-term and short-term option. You might choose to rent for a while to get used to paying your rent and bills on time, then decide you want your own place and are ready to buy instead. Alternatively, you can have the flexibility of easily moving from place to place and can choose to rent all your life.

When you rent somewhere, you have little responsibility for the property. Of course you must look after it well, or you could lose your deposit money at the end of the tenancy; but if something goes wrong, it's your landlord's responsibility to fix it. For example, if your boiler goes bust unexpectedly, you don't need to worry about the huge incoming bill, as your landlord will cover the cost. They own the property, not you, so they must come out and fix anything that breaks.

Benefits of home ownership

With the housing market going the way it is, it's highly likely that the value of the property you buy will continue to rise, allowing you to make a profit when you sell. You can then go on to buy a larger house later down the line, or if you're nearing retirement, you might consider downsizing to fund a more comfortable lifestyle.

It's not always a good idea to rent all your life. When you retire, you might not have enough income to be able to afford the rent of a place you want to live, but if you've already paid off your mortgage, you own the home and therefore can live there rent-free.

Moreover, you're allowed to change your home in almost any way you want to. This means you can invest further by renovating it to increase its value. Then when you finally come to sell, you'll make even more money.

Other things to consider

Currently, buying a home is cheaper than renting. A recent survey from Halifax reveals homeowners pay