Scotland business

First-time buying cheaper than renting, research finds

Couple looking in estate agent window Image copyright PA

First-time buyers are £1,440 a year better off with their own home, Bank of Scotland research has found.

The average monthly buying cost, including mortgage payments, associated with a first-time buyer of a three-bedroom house was £525 in December.

That was £120 lower than the monthly rent of £645.

This resulted in an increase of £659 over the last year - with 2014's figure for the saving associated with buying instead of renting being £781.

The Bank of Scotland said the difference had grown as a result of average monthly rents rising by £46 compared with a £9 decrease in monthly buying costs.

It also revealed the gap between buying and renting had widened significantly over the past five years, with the annual saving almost treble the £548 recorded in 2010.

Over this period, the average rent had grown by 20% while buying costs had increased by 7%.

'Financially more attractive'

The last time renting was the cheaper option was in 2008.

Nicola Noble, mortgage director at Bank of Scotland, said: "Since 2009, average buying costs have consistently been lower than average renting costs. In the past year this gap has doubled to an annual saving of £1,440.

"Of course, it was not always like this. In 2008, buying was more expensive than renting, but record low mortgage rates, coupled with rising private rents, have made getting on the housing ladder financially more attractive for those able to raise the necessary deposit and with access to mortgage finance.

"This improvement in the costs of buying compared to renting over the past few years has helped to boost the number of first-time buyers, who now account for 46% of all home sales in 2015 - up from 35% in 2007.

"Official government schemes such as Help to Buy have also played a part in helping first-time buyers, as have improving economic conditions."

The latest figures show the number of first-time buyers in Scotland is estimated to have totalled 27,900 in 2015, accounting for 46% of all house purchases made with a mortgage.

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