Are mortgage payments cheaper than rent in the UK?

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?

Finder research shows that renting is currently cheaper than a first-time buyer paying off a mortgage in 93% of British cities due to high interest rates. We take a look at the details below, including the cities where a first-time buyer mortgage is still cheaper than renting.

Mortgage vs rent: Key highlights

  • The average mortgage payment in Britain for a first-time buyer is £1,428, more expensive than the average rent of £1,246.
  • Rent is cheaper than monthly mortgage payments for first-time buyers in 93% of British cities as of March 2024.
  • The average 2-year fixed mortgage rate for a 15% deposit was 5.14% in March 2024.
  • The average rent in London is estimated to be £2,055 per month.

Where are mortgage payments cheaper than rent?

Of the 8 cities in Scotland, mortgage payments are cheaper than rent in 3 of them: Aberdeen, Dundee and Glasgow. This is a much higher ratio than in England, where just 3 of the 54 cities (6%) were paying more in rent payments than mortgage payments.

Overall, Glasgow is the best place to have a mortgage compared to renting as you will pay £874 a month on the average mortgage payment, which is 73% of the average rent of £1,191.

However, the cheapest monthly mortgage payments can be seen in Durham, with £644 a month, as this has the lowest average house price of the cities.

You can browse the map below to see the average monthly rent payments and mortgage payments in each city.

City Average monthly rent Average monthly mortgage payment What is cheaper?
Bath £1,536 £2,114 Rent
Birmingham £985 £1,166 Rent
Bradford £660 £843 Rent
Brighton & Hove £1,723 £2,126 Rent
Bristol £1,748 £1,708 Mortgage
Cambridge £1,634 £2,465 Rent
Canterbury £1,137 £1,638 Rent
Carlisle £568 £847 Rent
Chelmsford £1,244 £1,940 Rent
Chester £838 £1,337 Rent
Chichester £1,215 £2,210 Rent
Colchester £1,036 £1,497 Rent
Coventry £926 £1,104 Rent
Derby £736 £1,023 Rent
Doncaster £606 £839 Rent
Durham £543 £644 Rent
Ely £951 £1,748 Rent
Exeter £1,194 £1,545 Rent
Gloucester £919 £1,283 Rent
Hereford £724 £1,467 Rent
Kingston-upon-Hull £576 £660 Rent
Lancaster £695 £1,045 Rent
Leeds £1,080 £1,183 Rent
Leicester £899 £1,138 Rent
Lichfield £953 £1,560 Rent
Lincoln £794 £884 Rent
Liverpool £764 £909 Rent
London £2,055 £2,533 Rent
Manchester £1,194 £1,232 Rent
Milton Keynes £1,212 £1,611 Rent
Newcastle-upon-Tyne £979 £972 Mortgage
Norwich £1,019 £1,205 Rent
Nottingham £898 £959 Rent
Oxford £1,657 £2,319 Rent
Peterborough £888 £1,176 Rent
Plymouth £873 £1,126 Rent
Portsmouth £1,253 £1,239 Mortgage
Preston £662 £801 Rent
Ripon £766 £1,390 Rent
Salford £1,021 £1,149 Rent
Salisbury £925 £1,672 Rent
Sheffield £829 £1,086 Rent
Southampton £1,121 £1,167 Rent
Southend-on-Sea £1,142 £1,583 Rent
St Albans £1,702 £2,969 Rent
Stoke on Trent £591 £714 Rent
Sunderland £612 £701 Rent
Truro £878 £1,493 Rent
Wakefield £750 £999 Rent
Wells £898 £1,470 Rent
Winchester £1,309 £2,470 Rent
Wolverhampton £765 £976 Rent
Worcester £843 £1,314 Rent
York £1,089 £1,578 Rent
Aberdeen £801 £657 Mortgage
Dundee £792 £730 Mortgage
Dunfermline £755 £830 Rent
Edinburgh £1,317 £1,638 Rent
Glasgow £1,191 £874 Mortgage
Inverness £662 £1,042 Rent
Perth £728 £1,236 Rent
Stirling £827 £1,218 Rent
Bangor £662 £1,050 Rent
Cardiff £1,004 £1,337 Rent
Newport £755 £1,107 Rent
St Asaph £625 £987 Rent
St Davids £599 £1,144 Rent
Swansea £736 £974 Rent
Wrexham £677 £1,038 Rent

Verdict: Is it cheaper to rent or buy?

While buying a property requires a substantial upfront cost, it is typically cheaper than renting in the long term. This will vary depending on several factors, but renting usually becomes more expensive after 10-15 years.

It is also worth noting that at the end of the 30-year period, buyers will become owners of an asset, whilst renters will most likely have funded the mortgage repayments of their landlords.

However, monthly mortgage payments are currently higher than rent due to high interest rates. This is after paying a 15% deposit and any fees and costs associated with buying a house. So, first-time buyers should consider their options carefully when looking to buy, as it can be a costly investment.

How has the average cost of rent changed?

The average cost of rent for a property in Great Britain has been rising steadily over the past decade, reaching an average of £1,246 per month in March 2024. The average cost of rent has increased by 9.1% year-on-year since March 2023.

Month Great Britain - average rent England - average rent Wales - average rent Scotland - average rent
Mar 2024 £1,246 £1,285 £727 £947
Mar 2023 £1,142 £1,178 £667 £857
Mar 2022 £1,076 £1,112 £623 £790
Mar 2021 £1,043 £1,078 £605 £758
Mar 2020 £1,032 £1,068 £593 £748
Mar 2019 £1,011 £1,046 £581 £728
Mar 2018 £994 £1,029 £568 £717
Mar 2017 £983 £1,019 £556 £696
Mar 2016 £954 £987 £547 £686
Mar 2015 £924 £954 £542 £674

What is the average rent in London?

The average rent in London in March 2024 was £2,055 per month. This is 165% of the average rent in Great Britain, with residents in the capital paying over £800 per month more than the average Brit.

What are the advantages of renting?

  • Less responsibility. Broken shower? Not your problem. There’s your landlord to fix that.
  • Flexibility. Not sure where you want to settle? You can try out different areas and, in some cases, afford to live somewhere you couldn’t afford to buy. Rental contracts are typically 12 months long, so if you think you want to change location or your circumstances change, you can give your landlord notice and walk away.

What are the disadvantages of renting?

  • Rising rent prices. In the current climate, rents are climbing. Zoopla has said that the average UK tenant now spends 28.3% of their gross pay on rent.
  • Volatility. Rent can go up on the whim of your landlord.
  • Lack of future value. You’re paying your landlord’s mortgage rather than your own, which means you’re not building up a potential nest egg for the future.
  • Less freedom. You’ll also have to abide by your tenancy rules relating to things like owning pets or being able to decorate the property.

What are the advantages of buying?

  • Future value. Buying your own property is an investment in the future. Your mortgage payments will be contributing to something that is yours.
  • Asset. Further down the line, you could use the equity from your property to fund a larger house purchase or downsize to bolster your retirement fund.
  • Freedom. You’ll also be able to decorate and modify your house to your liking.
  • Stability. No landlord can turn around at short notice to ask you to leave. All in all, you have more control and more of a stake when it’s your own property.

What are the disadvantages of buying?

  • Risk. Taking out a mortgage is one of the biggest financial commitments you’ll ever make. If you don’t keep up with your mortgage payments, your home could be repossessed. This not only means you lose your place to live, but this could also affect your credit score and future borrowing potential.
  • Responsibility and extra costs. You’ll also be responsible for all the additional costs of owning a home. For example, you’ll need buildings cover and life insurance. That’s before any maintenance costs for your property.
  • Less flexibility. Finally, owning a home gives you less flexibility, as selling up and moving is more expensive.

Expert analysis: Can you afford to buy?

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Kate Steere

Editor

Buying a house is one of the biggest financial decisions you can make. You need to consider the initial deposit and mortgage payments, as well as additional fees and expenditures:

  • Deposit. The most common deposit is around 15% of the purchase price.
  • Mortgage repayments. It is important to consider your ability to keep up with mortgage rates, especially with variable interest rates.
  • Stamp duty. Stamp duty is a required tax when buying a residential property. However, first-time buyers don't pay stamp duty on the amount up to £425,000.
  • Other fees. There are legal fees that come with all the paperwork. House surveys and removal costs also add up to the bill.

The deposit, mortgage structure and all additional fees must be carefully considered before buying a home. Although becoming a property owner is desirable, you should balance the risk against the reward when deciding!

What other costs are involved in renting?

The cost of renting is relatively cheaper than buying a home, with the deposit being the biggest payment outside of rent.

Outside of monthly rental payments, tenants will have to pay a holding deposit and a security deposit. The holding deposit is usually a week’s worth of rent, which ensures your potential new home is secured, whilst estate agents check your references. Upon signing the tenancy agreement, a security deposit of not more than 5 weeks’ worth of rent is taken to protect the landlord against any damages and missing items.

Both of these deposits should eventually be paid back to the tenant. A holding deposit can be used as part of the security deposit once the tenant has passed reference checks. The security deposit is returned in full to the tenant at the end of the rental agreement. The cost of any damage caused by the tenant or any missing items will be deducted from the security deposit.

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 a nationally representative survey in June 2023 of adults aged 18+.
  • A total of 2,000 people were questioned throughout Great Britain, with representative quotas for gender, age and region.
  • Homelet
  • GOV.UK

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