Renting costs up to £396,000 more than buying a house
Even before the value of the house is taken into account, renting is more expensive.
A new report from Barclays suggests that, in England and Wales, renting your home has an average lifetime cost of almost £200,000 more than buying that home – rising to almost £400,000 in London.
The bank calculated the cost of buying a home of average value (£160,780 across England and Wales, rising £343,522 in London) by looking at the cost of the deposit, stamp duty, solicitor's fees and an 80 per cent mortgage at an APR of 4.4 per cent, and they also looked at various other lifetime costs, including building insurance and maintenence. Renting was assessed by multiplying the annual rent (plus inflation) by 50, and subtracting the value of the deposit if it were saved.
With it all taken into account, the average cost in England and Wales of buying a house comes to £429,500 over 50 years, while the average cost of renting comes to £623,000.
Over those 50 years, only half the cost of buying the home actually comes through mortgage payments – just £210,000. A further £28,156 goes on the deposit, but the second biggest cost of owning a house is the maintenance; £170,000 is the expected cost of maintaining the average house for 50 years, more than the asking price.
The research also makes the point that, when buying a house, much of the cost is front-loaded. 20 per cent of the asking price must be paid up front, and mortgage payments are only paid for the first half, or thereabouts, of ownership. After that, the day-to-day cost of being a homeowner is relatively low. Over the same period, a renter can expect to see their monthly bill steadily increase, and they will ended paying more, in nominal terms, in their last month than they did in their fast. The report assumes that it will increase by the rate of inflation, but, in recent history at least, renting costs have actually increased far faster than CPI.
As Barclays' head of mortgages, Andy Gray, 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.
What is really astonishing about the relative costs of renting and owning, however, is that even this truth is being tackled in some locations. Last month, Felix Salmon ran the following chart showing the situation in America at the moment:
The y-axis is charting the average monthly cost (in dollars) of rent and a mortgage payment. In other words, even on a month-to-month basis, buying a house is cheaper in the US than renting, and, of course, at the end of the former, you can stop paying and you own a house.
The precipitous fall in house prices – one of the triggers of the global recession – that makes that the case in the US hasn't been matched here, but at the same time rents have risen much faster in the UK over the period shown in the chart above. A house for rent at £350 a month in 1988 would now be expected to rent for £1138, while as the chart shows, a house for rent at $350 in the US is now available for around $700. It can't be long until anyone with the cash for a deposit would be a fool not to take the plunge and buy a house.
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