Rent or buy?
As we have said before in this property column, the decision to buy or rent comes down to individual personal financial circumstances. In the current climate, buyers are struggling to secure mortgages.
This is regardless of whether they are first-time buyers or not. Lenders have tightened their criteria so much that in certain situations existing borrowers are struggling to move up the property ladder.
The latest renting versus buying research from Zoopla.co.uk shows that for a two-bedroom flat, renting is almost £1,000 a year more expensive, and that it's now cheaper to service a mortgage than rent in 86 per cent of cities in UK.
In other words, tenants pay 14 per cent more on average in rent than owners pay in servicing mortgages.
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Zoopla's analysis of the cost of renting compared to servicing a mortgage reveals that renting a typical two-bedroom property is £987 more expensive per year than paying an interest-only mortgage on an equivalent home.
The current average asking rent for two bedroom flats nationally is £669 per month, compared to an average asking price of £140,692.
Servicing an interest-only mortgage at 5 per cent would cost £7,035 per annum, 14 per cent less than the £8,028 paid by the average tenant for such a property.
The average mortgage would stand at £126,623 with an interest cost of £463 per month, saving the average owner £2,463 a year (not including the cost of the 10 per cent deposit).
This is partly due to the difficulties faced by first-time buyers in getting a mortgage, which in turn is pushing up the cost of renting.
Buying is now cheaper than renting across 86 per cent of the UK's cities, up from 84 per cent one year ago.
Southern towns feature much more prominently in the list of areas where it is cheaper to rent than buy. Swansea tops the list of places where renting is more cost-effective than owning.
As a general rule it is much more cost-effective to own a property than rent it.