Phil Spencer give his thoughts on renting versus buying.

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The answer to this question is not straightforward. In fact there is no right or wrong answer. It comes down to personal circumstances, market conditions and is always a hotly debated topic. The case for and against both options can easily be made. Fundamentally it depends on your choice of lifestyle and personal circumstances.

Recent record low interest rates have played a significant role in keeping the cost of borrowing low and driving down monthly mortgage payments. But lending criteria have been strict and inflation has been consistently above the Bank of England’s target.

The latest research from Zoopla shows that buying a property is currently 13 per cent more cost-effective on average than renting a property (varies by location across the UK) however the gap between the cost of renting and buying is narrowing as house prices begin to rise.

So, because I don’t know your personal circumstances I cannot say which option might suit you best, so instead, here are some things to consider when deciding whether to rent or buy:

Buying

1. You’re investing in your future

If you own your home and have a repayment mortgage, rather than an interest only mortgage, you are investing in your future and creating a valuable asset. Your monthly repayments aren’t going to a landlord and creating ‘dead money’ for you. However whilst the value of your property may go up as well as down, at the end of the term of the mortgage you could own the property outright.

2. Freedom

If you own your home you can do what you like to it (within the planning regulations of course). You can make it a home for your family or simply move in and carry on. You’ll also be in direct control of any problems with the property.

3. Discipline and experience

The house buying process can be a daunting one, but when you have done it once, the process is very similar for future purchases. If you’re a first time buyer, owning your first home can be a great way to kick-start financial planning for your future and help you to create a household budget to manage the costs of running a home.

4. Community

An often overlooked advantage of buying your property is that you’re also becoming part of an existing community that makes up the local school, church or shops and create lifelong friends and support.

Renting

1. Flexibility

Renting allows you to choose pretty much where you’d like to live – subject to budget! In most cases you can break a rental contract after 6 months, allowing you to move to a new location or try a new location perhaps as a test before you decide to commit and buy in the area.

2. Free from financial responsibility

As a renter you are not going to fall foul of any housing market related conditions. You will of course have to pay rent but you’re not tied into monthly repayments on a bigger loan and therefore cannot fall into negative equity.

3. No maintenance costs

As a tenant it is the responsibility of your landlord to maintain the property, pay for decoration and its upkeep.

So, as I said, there is no right or wrong decision – it comes down to your circumstances and personal preferences, but these pointers might help you make a decision one way or another.

Some information contained herein may have changed since it was first published. Zoopla strongly advises you to seek current legal and/or financial advice from a qualified professional.

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