Buying beats renting over lifetime

2nd July 2012

Buying, paying mortgage and maintaining a home costs £429,000 over 50 years compared to £623,000 in rent accordingly to a new study from Barclays. Stepping onto the property ladder has enormous financial benefits over a person’s adult lifetime and owning your home rather than renting it will save you £194,000 over a fifty year period. This figure doesn’t account for the value of the home the buyer will own at the end of it.

While the total cost of mortgage repayments, maintenance, and other costs associated with owning the average home would come to £429,000 over fifty years (a person’s adult lifetime since a typical buyer purchases in his early thirties) renting a similar home over the same period would cost £623,000.

Initially, being a tenant is often cheaper than being an owner, as mortgage repayments tend to be higher than rental costs, but rents inflate over time.

The home buyer of course also has one-off financial hurdles of deposit, stamp duty and solicitor’s fees, and permanent aspects such as maintenance and insurance for his home. However, most importantly, at the end of 25 years, the buyer will also own his home outright as the mortgage will have been entirely repaid. This increases the advantage of owning over renting to £595,000.

Andy Gray, Head of Mortgages at Barclays said, “The cost of stepping on or moving up the housing ladder can be a big barrier for many, but the long term benefits hugely exceed the initial expense. Not only will you save money by becoming an owner occupier, but you will also own a substantial asset once your mortgage is paid off, providing financial security for your old age. Those who choose to rent permanently will have to pay their landlord out of their pension income, while owner occupiers will enjoy minimal housing costs.

Over a fifty year span, roughly 50 per cent of the cost of occupying your own home comes in the form of mortgage payments – £210,000 out of the £429,000. Two fifths of that £210,000 is interest cost, while the rest is capital repayment. The next largest outlay is maintenance at £170,000. The initial purchase deposit is the next biggest cost, while insurance, stamp duty and other costs associated with buying the house in the first place make up the rest.

Figures vary enormously from region to region, due to the differences in rents and house prices across the country. For example, in London, buying a typical home would save the owner £396,000 compared to renting it over 50 years. This is chiefly because house prices in the capital are high. In the South West, by contrast, the advantage is very small (just £34,000) because rents are unusually cheap relative to house prices. The North West has relatively low house prices (the second lowest in the country), but rather high rents and so the advantage of owning over renting there is the second highest in the country at £300,000.

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