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Buying a home becomes cheaper than renting

Buying a home becomes cheaper than renting

Category: Mortgages

Updated: 22/09/2011
First Published: 26/04/2011

MONEYFACTS ARCHIVE
This article was correct at the time of publication. It is now over 6 months old so the content may be out of date.

Low mortgage rates and falling house prices have created the situation where buying a property is now more affordable than renting.

Tenants are paying almost £100 a month more than mortgage holders, according to Halifax, meaning the cost associated with buying a home in the UK is typically 14% lower than renting a property.

The study found that while owners of a three bedroom home spend on average £608 a month on mortgage payments and maintenance, renting a similar property costs £706 a month.

Just three years ago, the average cost of buying a home was 43% more expensive than renting.

The bank said the reversal has been driven by a drop in the average mortgage rate since 2008.

The average mortgage rate for a new borrower has fallen from 5.82% in March 2008 to 3.59% last month, helping to reduce the average monthly mortgage payment by over a third.

Suren Thiru, housing economist at the high street bank, said the marked decline in mortgage costs has improved affordability for those able to enter the market as well as helping to ease the pressure on existing homeowners' disposable income.

"Although the current trade-off between buying and renting is expected to narrow when interest rates start to rise again, the long-term benefits associated with investing in bricks and mortar are likely to ensure that buying will continue to be viewed favourably by many," he added.

Despite the improvement in the affordability of buying relative to renting, many potential first time buyers have still been unable to fulfil their homeownership dreams of late.

Following the financial crisis, lenders tightened their lending criteria, so that fewer first time buyer mortgages have been available.

However, mortgage deals aimed at those with a smaller deposit have been returning to the market in recent months.

HSBC and Yorkshire Building Society are amongst the lenders willing to lend to borrowers with just a 10% deposit, while Woolwich and first direct have mortgage deals open to those with a 15% deposit.

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