To buy? To rent? Choosing one over the other is a perennial dilemma, but new figures from Zoopla are showing areas of the UK where the differences between having a mortgage or going onto a rental agreement are the most marked.
When it comes to renting, the south of England dominates the top 10 of figures for local authorities where it’s more cost-effective than buying. St Albans, just to the north-west of London, leads the way – median rent there is £1,202 while average monthly mortgage payments are £1,472.
That’s a difference of 22.6%, some way clear of nearby South Bucks where the differential is 16.4%. Derbyshire is in third place with a figure of 14.9%, with regions in the south-east of England filling the other places in the top 10.
But if you’re looking for somewhere where it’s better to buy than rent, then Hartlepool, a couple of hundred miles to the north-east is where to cast your eye. You’d need an average of £236 per month for a mortgage in the coastal town in County Durham, 47.4% less than the median rent figure.
Bargains north of the border?
Scotland takes seven of the top 10 places where buying beats renting, but an outlier in the list is Burnley. In the east Lancashire town, it costs £231 for a monthly mortgage payment, over 45% less than the cost of renting. The data tallies with recent findings from Compare My Move, who found that first-time buyers in Burnley could save for a 5% deposit for a Help To Buy loan in as little as seven months.
What about in London? Barking & Dagenham is the borough where buying beats renting, with a difference of 14.7% on a monthly mortgage of £1,062. The area recently led the way in capital price rises in Your Move’s November figures with 0.9%.
There are no surprises when it comes to where it’s cheaper to rent than buy in London, with Kensington & Chelsea top of the charts with a median monthly rent of £2,878 coming in just under 40% less than a mortgage.