Buying vs renting: Which is cheaper?

What are the average rent and mortgage costs in the UK? We’ve done the calculations to help you decide which is the more worthwhile investment.

Updated

Fact checked
Picture not described

When choosing your next home, there are several questions that you must ask yourself. Is it cheaper to continue renting? Would it be a more worthwhile investment to get a mortgage?

The buying vs renting debate has never been as hot a topic. We’ve crunched the numbers to help you understand how much it would cost you to rent or buy a house over the next 30 years, as well as an in-depth comparison of how much homeowners and renters in the UK are spending.

Buying vs renting: How much would it cost over 30 years for a first time buyer?

We explored how much it would cost to rent a property vs how much it would cost to buy a property over a 30-year period. For newbies on the property ladder, buying a house starts off with a large upfront cost of £49,350 on average, which includes the average deposit of £46,190, plus stamp duty (£2,130) and the average monthly mortgage repayment (£771.33).

In comparison, renting has a far lower initial investment at just £869, which is the average monthly rent per household in the UK. However, over 360 months, renting slowly catches up the cost of homeownership.

For first time buyers, by the end of the 30 years the total cost of paying off the average mortgage of £231,500 plus the standard maintenance costs of homeownership and interest totals up to £420,015. In comparison, the average cost of renting over time comes to £416,504. However, it’s important to note that despite renting costing slightly less than buying, you do not come away owning anything at the end.

Month Renting Buying
1 £869 £49,349
2 £1,738 £50,382
3 £2,607 £51,414
4 £3,476 £52,447
5 £4,345 £53,479
6 £5,214 £54,512
7 £6,083 £55,544
8 £6,952 £56,577
9 £7,821 £57,609
10 £8,690 £58,642
11 £9,560 £59,674
12 £10,429 £60,707
13 £11,314 £61,739
14 £12,200 £62,772
15 £13,085 £63,804
16 £13,971 £64,837
17 £14,856 £65,869
18 £15,742 £66,902
19 £16,627 £67,934
20 £17,513 £68,967
21 £18,399 £69,999
22 £19,284 £71,032
23 £20,170 £72,064
24 £21,055 £73,097
25 £21,958 £74,129
26 £22,860 £75,162
27 £23,762 £76,194
28 £24,665 £77,227
29 £25,567 £78,259
30 £26,470 £79,292
31 £27,372 £80,324
32 £28,274 £81,357
33 £29,177 £82,389
34 £30,079 £83,422
35 £30,982 £84,454
36 £31,884 £85,487
37 £32,803 £86,519
38 £33,723 £87,552
39 £34,642 £88,584
40 £35,562 £89,617
41 £36,482 £90,649
42 £37,401 £91,682
43 £38,321 £92,714
44 £39,240 £93,747
45 £40,160 £94,779
46 £41,079 £95,812
47 £41,999 £96,844
48 £42,918 £97,877
49 £43,855 £98,909
50 £44,792 £99,942
51 £45,729 £100,974
52 £46,666 £102,007
53 £47,603 £103,039
54 £48,540 £104,072
55 £49,477 £105,104
56 £50,414 £106,137
57 £51,351 £107,169
58 £52,288 £108,202
59 £53,225 £109,234
60 £54,162 £110,267
61 £55,117 £111,299
62 £56,072 £112,332
63 £57,027 £113,364
64 £57,982 £114,397
65 £58,936 £115,429
66 £59,891 £116,462
67 £60,846 £117,494
68 £61,801 £118,527
69 £62,756 £119,559
70 £63,710 £120,592
71 £64,665 £121,624
72 £65,620 £122,657
73 £66,593 £123,689
74 £67,566 £124,722
75 £68,539 £125,754
76 £69,512 £126,787
77 £70,485 £127,819
78 £71,458 £128,852
79 £72,431 £129,884
80 £73,404 £130,917
81 £74,376 £131,949
82 £75,349 £132,982
83 £76,322 £134,014
84 £77,295 £135,047
85 £78,287 £136,079
86 £79,278 £137,112
87 £80,270 £138,144
88 £81,261 £139,177
89 £82,252 £140,209
90 £83,244 £141,242
91 £84,235 £142,274
92 £85,227 £143,307
93 £86,218 £144,339
94 £87,210 £145,372
95 £88,201 £146,404
96 £89,192 £147,437
97 £90,203 £148,469
98 £91,213 £149,502
99 £92,223 £150,534
100 £93,234 £151,567
101 £94,244 £152,599
102 £95,254 £153,632
103 £96,264 £154,664
104 £97,275 £155,697
105 £98,285 £156,729
106 £99,295 £157,762
107 £100,305 £158,794
108 £101,316 £159,827
109 £102,345 £160,859
110 £103,375 £161,892
111 £104,404 £162,924
112 £105,434 £163,957
113 £106,463 £164,989
114 £107,492 £166,022
115 £108,522 £167,054
116 £109,551 £168,087
117 £110,581 £169,119
118 £111,610 £170,152
119 £112,640 £171,184
120 £113,669 £172,217
121 £114,718 £173,249
122 £115,767 £174,282
123 £116,816 £175,314
124 £117,865 £176,347
125 £118,914 £177,379
126 £119,963 £178,412
127 £121,012 £179,444
128 £122,061 £180,477
129 £123,110 £181,509
130 £124,160 £182,542
131 £125,209 £183,574
132 £126,258 £184,607
133 £127,327 £185,639
134 £128,395 £186,672
135 £129,464 £187,704
136 £130,533 £188,737
137 £131,602 £189,769
138 £132,671 £190,802
139 £133,740 £191,834
140 £134,809 £192,867
141 £135,878 £193,899
142 £136,947 £194,932
143 £138,016 £195,964
144 £139,085 £196,997
145 £140,174 £198,029
146 £141,264 £199,062
147 £142,353 £200,094
148 £143,442 £201,127
149 £144,531 £202,159
150 £145,621 £203,191
151 £146,710 £204,224
152 £147,799 £205,256
153 £148,888 £206,289
154 £149,978 £207,321
155 £151,067 £208,354
156 £152,156 £209,386
157 £153,266 £210,419
158 £154,376 £211,451
159 £155,486 £212,484
160 £156,596 £213,516
161 £157,706 £214,549
162 £158,816 £215,581
163 £159,926 £216,614
164 £161,036 £217,646
165 £162,146 £218,679
166 £163,256 £219,711
167 £164,366 £220,744
168 £165,476 £221,776
169 £166,607 £222,809
170 £167,738 £223,841
171 £168,869 £224,874
172 £170,000 £225,906
173 £171,131 £226,939
174 £172,262 £227,971
175 £173,393 £229,004
176 £174,524 £230,036
177 £175,655 £231,069
178 £176,786 £232,101
179 £177,917 £233,134
180 £179,048 £234,166
181 £180,201 £235,199
182 £181,353 £236,231
183 £182,506 £237,264
184 £183,659 £238,296
185 £184,811 £239,329
186 £185,964 £240,361
187 £187,116 £241,394
188 £188,269 £242,426
189 £189,421 £243,459
190 £190,574 £244,491
191 £191,726 £245,524
192 £192,879 £246,556
193 £194,053 £247,589
194 £195,228 £248,621
195 £196,402 £249,654
196 £197,577 £250,686
197 £198,751 £251,719
198 £199,925 £252,751
199 £201,100 £253,784
200 £202,274 £254,816
201 £203,449 £255,849
202 £204,623 £256,881
203 £205,798 £257,914
204 £206,972 £258,946
205 £208,169 £259,979
206 £209,366 £261,011
207 £210,562 £262,044
208 £211,759 £263,076
209 £212,956 £264,109
210 £214,153 £265,141
211 £215,349 £266,174
212 £216,546 £267,206
213 £217,743 £268,239
214 £218,940 £269,271
215 £220,136 £270,304
216 £221,333 £271,336
217 £222,553 £272,369
218 £223,772 £273,401
219 £224,992 £274,434
220 £226,211 £275,466
221 £227,431 £276,499
222 £228,650 £277,531
223 £229,870 £278,564
224 £231,089 £279,596
225 £232,309 £280,629
226 £233,528 £281,661
227 £234,748 £282,694
228 £235,967 £283,726
229 £237,210 £284,759
230 £238,452 £285,791
231 £239,695 £286,824
232 £240,938 £287,856
233 £242,180 £288,889
234 £243,423 £289,921
235 £244,666 £290,954
236 £245,908 £291,986
237 £247,151 £293,019
238 £248,394 £294,051
239 £249,636 £295,084
240 £250,879 £296,116
241 £252,145 £297,149
242 £253,412 £298,181
243 £254,678 £299,214
244 £255,944 £300,246
245 £257,210 £301,279
246 £258,477 £302,311
247 £259,743 £303,344
248 £261,009 £304,376
249 £262,275 £305,409
250 £263,542 £306,441
251 £264,808 £307,474
252 £266,074 £308,506
253 £267,365 £309,539
254 £268,655 £310,571
255 £269,945 £311,604
256 £271,236 £312,636
257 £272,526 £313,669
258 £273,816 £314,701
259 £275,107 £315,734
260 £276,397 £316,766
261 £277,687 £317,799
262 £278,978 £318,831
263 £280,268 £319,864
264 £281,558 £320,896
265 £282,873 £321,929
266 £284,188 £322,961
267 £285,503 £323,994
268 £286,818 £325,026
269 £288,133 £326,059
270 £289,447 £327,091
271 £290,762 £328,124
272 £292,077 £329,156
273 £293,392 £330,189
274 £294,707 £331,221
275 £296,022 £332,254
276 £297,336 £333,286
277 £298,676 £334,319
278 £300,016 £335,351
279 £301,356 £336,384
280 £302,696 £337,416
281 £304,036 £338,449
282 £305,375 £339,481
283 £306,715 £340,514
284 £308,055 £341,546
285 £309,395 £342,579
286 £310,735 £343,611
287 £312,075 £344,644
288 £313,414 £345,676
289 £314,780 £346,709
290 £316,145 £347,741
291 £317,510 £348,774
292 £318,876 £349,806
293 £320,241 £350,839
294 £321,606 £351,871
295 £322,971 £352,904
296 £324,337 £353,936
297 £325,702 £354,969
298 £327,067 £356,001
299 £328,433 £357,034
300 £329,798 £358,066
301 £331,189 £359,098
302 £332,580 £360,131
303 £333,972 £361,163
304 £335,363 £362,196
305 £336,754 £363,228
306 £338,145 £364,261
307 £339,536 £365,293
308 £340,928 £366,326
309 £342,319 £367,358
310 £343,710 £368,391
311 £345,101 £369,423
312 £346,493 £370,456
313 £347,910 £371,488
314 £349,328 £372,521
315 £350,746 £373,553
316 £352,163 £374,586
317 £353,581 £375,618
318 £354,999 £376,651
319 £356,416 £377,683
320 £357,834 £378,716
321 £359,252 £379,748
322 £360,669 £380,781
323 £362,087 £381,813
324 £363,505 £382,846
325 £364,949 £383,878
326 £366,394 £384,911
327 £367,838 £385,943
328 £369,283 £386,976
329 £370,728 £388,008
330 £372,172 £389,041
331 £373,617 £390,073
332 £375,061 £391,106
333 £376,506 £392,138
334 £377,950 £393,171
335 £379,395 £394,203
336 £380,840 £395,236
337 £382,312 £396,268
338 £383,784 £397,301
339 £385,256 £398,333
340 £386,728 £399,366
341 £388,200 £400,398
342 £389,672 £401,431
343 £391,144 £402,463
344 £392,616 £403,496
345 £394,088 £404,528
346 £395,560 £405,561
347 £397,032 £406,593
348 £398,504 £407,626
349 £400,004 £408,658
350 £401,504 £409,691
351 £403,004 £410,723
352 £404,504 £411,756
353 £406,004 £412,788
354 £407,504 £413,821
355 £409,004 £414,853
356 £410,504 £415,886
357 £412,004 £416,918
358 £413,504 £417,951
359 £415,004 £418,983
360 £416,504 £420,015

How has the average house price changed over the last 30 years?

Overall, for all looking to buy a house in 2020 (not just first time buyers), things are looking slightly expensive. According to new ONS figures, the average house price for all buyers in the UK has surged up to £245,000. This equates to a 5.4% annual increase from the year commencing October 2019 to October 2020. In September 2020, the annual increase sat at 4.3%.

While annual rises of a similar nature have previously occurred in December 2014 and August 2005, both of which also saw a 5.4% increase, this is the highest increase in average house prices the UK has seen since October 2016, which saw an annual increase of 5.6% from the previous year.

Date Average UK House Price
1990 £58,000
1991 £57,000
1992 £53,000
1993 £54,000
1994 £56,000
1995 £56,000
1996 £60,000
1997 £65,000
1998 £72,000
1999 £83,000
2000 £94,000
2001 £98,000
2002 £120,000
2003 £135,000
2004 £152,000
2005 £159,000
2006 £174,000
2007 £190,000
2008 £168,000
2009 £167,000
2010 £171,000
2011 £168,000
2012 £169,000
2013 £175,000
2014 £192,000
2015 £203,000
2016 £214,000
2017 £225,000
2018 £231,000
2019 £233,000
2020 £245,000

Overview of the general averages across the UK

We explored how the average weekly rent and the average weekly mortgage repayments compare in the UK.

Buying vs renting: weekly costs

We analysed the weekly cost of renting vs mortgage repayments. In 2018/2019, the average weekly mortgage repayment stood at £172, up £27 from £145 in 2008/2009.

The weekly cost of renting is slightly higher. In 2008/2009, the average rent was £153 a week, £8 more than the average mortgage repayment. However, since then, rent has shot up by almost a third (31%), with the average weekly rent in the UK costing £200 in 2018/2019. This means the average weekly rent is now £28 more expensive than the average weekly mortgage repayment – a key stat to consider when deciding between buying vs renting.

2008/2009 2018/2019
Mortgage £145 £172
Renting £153 £200

Average cost of rent (2008-2024)

We explored how the average rent has changed since 2008 in further detail. In 2008, average weekly rent prices were £153. Since then, prices have increased by 3% on average every year.

Rent only decreased once, between 2011/2012 and 2012/2013, dropping from £164 to £163. However, the following year saw an 8% (£13) rise in rent prices – the biggest increase in any year.

Based on our analysis, the average weekly household rent is likely to be around £205 in 2019/2020, increasing to £229 by the end of 2024.

Year Average weekly rent
2008/2009 £153
2009/2010 £156
2010/2011 £160
2011/2012 £164
2012/2013 £163
2013/2014 £176
2014/2015 £179
2015/2016 £184
2016/2017 £192
2017/2018 £193
2018/2019 £200
2019/2020* £205
2020/2021* £211
2021/2022* £217
2022/2023* £223
2023/2024* £229

Buying vs renting: Regional differences

London leads with the highest rent and mortgage costs to pay in the UK. In 2008, Londoners paid £233 for rent, but 2018 saw this number rise to £341. In a less as steep rise, mortgage costs went from £203 to £242 from 2008 to 2018.

The South East region follows closely behind, with rent costing £216 in 2018 – up £54 from 2008. The average mortgage cost £168 in 2008 and £197 in 2018.

If you’re looking for the cheaper areas in the UK, then the North East region wins the ticket with the lowest costs on our list. In 2008, renters paid just £106 per week, while 2018 saw them pay £13 more. Similarly, the average mortgage cost just £104 per week in 2008 and £121 per week in 2018.

Region Rent (2008/2009) Rent (2018/2019) Mortgage (2008/2009) Mortgage (2018/2019)
North East £106 £119 £104 £121
North West £113 £141 £119 £135
Yorkshire and the Humber £110 £123 £117 £132
East Midlands £108 £129 £129 £143
West Midlands £117 £137 £121 £144
East Anglia £142 £198 £163 £186
London £233 £341 £203 £242
South East £162 £216 £168 £197
South West £138 £172 £141 £171

Buying vs renting: Age differences

In 2008/2009 those aged 35-44 were paying almost the same price for both rent and mortgage per week. For their mortgages, weekly costs were at £163, while rent was £161. A decade later and that gap increased, leaving a £20 difference between the two. Rent prices shot up to £211, while mortgage costs landed £191.

Those aged 16-24 have witnessed the largest increase in rent costs over the past 10 years. In 2008, 16-24-year-olds could pay a weekly rent of just £152, however, 2018 saw this number skyrocket up to £224. In comparison, the average weekly mortgage costs for this particular age group went down from £166 in 2008, to £122 in 2018. This means that it would work out much cheaper to pay off a mortgage than to pay rent.

Buying vs renting: Household differences

In 2008, those with two or more families in the one household were paying the most rent at £213 per week. By 2018, this had risen by just £37. However, households of one lone person sharing with other lone persons saw a large jump from £198 to £312 in this time, meaning that by 2018/2019, they had taken the top spot for households paying the most rent per week. Those who live alone have benefited the most from renting in the UK, as they have proven to be the type of household paying the least. In 2008, a household of just one person would spend £117 on rent, and in 2018, this number rose to just £156.

For homeowners, weekly mortgage costs worked out slightly cheaper. Similarly to renting, households of one person are paying the least in 2018/2019 at £125 – just £1 more than in 2008/2009. While lone parents with dependent children paid just £112 in 2008/2009, in 2018/2019 this cost hiked up to £156. Meanwhile, couples with non-dependent children were paying £120 in 2008/2009 and £155 in 2018/2019. Taking the crown for the type of household paying the highest mortgage per week is couples with dependent children. While 2008 saw this household paying £165, this price rose to £198 10 years later.

Type of household Rent per week 2008/2009 Rent per week 2018/2019
One person £117 £156
Couple, no children £150 £200
Couple, non-dependent children £140 £206
Couple, dependent children £175 £217
Lone parent, non-dependent children £133 £150
Lone parent, dependent children £150 £176
Two or more families £213 £250
Lone person sharing with other lone persons £198 £312
Type of household Mortgage per week 2008/2009 Mortgage per week 2018/2019
One person £124 £125
Couple, no children £149 £169
Couple, non-dependent children £120 £155
Couple, dependent children £165 £198
Lone parent, non-dependent children £100 £133
Lone parent, dependent children £112 £156
Two or more families £145 £164
Lone person sharing with other lone persons £131 £189

Buying vs renting: Ethnicity differences

Research shows that those of Chinese background have seen the largest increase of £89 in rent prices over the last 10 years, while those of Pakistani or Bangladeshi origin have experienced the highest rise in mortgage costs from 2008 to 2018 of £34.

Buying vs renting: Economic status differences

Those studying full-time have had to fork out the most for rent over the past 10 years. Prices went from £190 in 2008 to £256 in 2018. Contrastingly, people who were retired paid just £74 per week for their mortgage in 2008. By 2018, that cost had risen to just £111.

Rent and mortgage prices were on somewhat level ground in 2008 for those working full-time. Weekly rent prices were at £158, while mortgage payments were at £152. Similarly, rent prices were at £130 and mortgage prices were at £125 for those unemployed. Analysis of 2018 data shows that rent prices have increased by an average of 1.2% for all, regardless of economic status, with those who are retired having to pay the least. Mortgages, on the other hand, increased by just 1.1%.

For all media enquiries, please contact

Matt Mckenna
UK communications manager
T: +44 20 8191 8806
matt.mckenna@finder.com@MichHutchison/in/matthewmckenna2

Methodology

  • Finder commissioned Onepoll on 7-11 November 2020 to carry out a nationally representative survey of adults aged 18+.
  • A total of 2,000 people were questioned throughout Great Britain, with representative quotas for gender, age and region.

Related articles

More guides on Finder

Ask an Expert

You are about to post a question on finder.com:

  • Do not enter personal information (eg. surname, phone number, bank details) as your question will be made public
  • finder.com is a financial comparison and information service, not a bank or product provider
  • We cannot provide you with personal advice or recommendations
  • Your answer might already be waiting – check previous questions below to see if yours has already been asked

Finder.com provides guides and information on a range of products and services. Because our content is not financial advice, we suggest talking with a professional before you make any decision.

By submitting your comment or question, you agree to our Privacy and Cookies Policy and Terms of Use.

Questions and responses on finder.com are not provided, paid for or otherwise endorsed by any bank or brand. These banks and brands are not responsible for ensuring that comments are answered or accurate.
Go to site