The cost of mortgage repayments on a typical home is more than £100 cheaper than renting in England and Wales .
The average monthly cost of buying a three bedroom house was £600 in December 2011; £116 (or 16%) lower than the average monthly rent of £716 paid on the same property, figures from Halifax show.
It marks a notable turnaround from just three years ago when the average cost of buying a property was almost a third (29%) higher than the average price of renting.
At the time, the average monthly cost of owning a property was £928, with monthly rents averaging £721.
It means that Britons currently spend far less of their disposable income on mortgage repayments, with the percentage falling from 47% in 2008 to 29% in 2011.
In fact, buying a home was most cost effective in every region apart from Wales in December 2011. By contrast, buying was more costly than renting in all regions in December 2008, demonstrating the considerable turnaround over the last three years.
Other factors have contributed to making paying back a mortgage loan more affordable compared to renting.
Average mortgage rates for new borrowers have fallen considerably in the last three years, while the cost of renting has gone up since 2009.
But despite the affordability, obstacles still remain in the way of potential buyers.
"Despite the improvement in the relative affordability of buying a home, the number of purchasers has continued to fall due to the ongoing challenges in raising a deposit and the considerable uncertainty over the prospects for the UK economy, which have severely constrained housing demand," said Martin Ellis, housing economist at Halifax.
It means that the number of people entering the market has continued to decline despite the improvement in the affordability of buying compared with renting since 2008.
It is estimated that there were around 510,000 home purchases with a mortgage in 2011 – the lowest annual total since 1974 and 6% lower than in 2010.
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