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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.
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.
What's in this guide?
- Buying vs renting: How much would it cost over 30 years for a first time buyer?
- How has the average house price changed over the last 30 years?
- Overview of the general averages across the UK
- Buying vs renting: Regional differences
- Buying vs renting: Age differences
- Buying vs renting: Household differences
- Buying vs renting: Ethnicity differences
- Buying vs renting: Economic status differences
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.
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|
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.
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|
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)|
|Yorkshire and the Humber||£110||£123||£117||£132|
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|
|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|
|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%.
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- 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.
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