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Buying vs Renting

Buying vs renting imageAs a society, the share economy is becoming a part of everyday life. From Uber to AirTasker and everything in between, it is plausible you could live your life now without owning much more than the bare necessities.

So the question stands, is ownership becoming a thing of the past?

Well, it’s probably safe to say that it’s not quite as dire as that. The great Australian dream of owning your own property is still very real for many Aussies, but for some it may be dropping off the radar.

Recent Finder research found that 23% of Aussies believe that they will be renting forever.

This is not necessarily a bad thing, so it is important to consider your own situation when weighing up which option is right for you.

If you’re stuck between the prospects of buying and renting, here are a few lifestyle considerations you might want to take into account.

Family

Family will play a big part when deciding whether you’re going to rent or buy.

For those craving stability such as families with school-aged children or someone who has older relatives living with them, buying can remove the chaos that comes with regularly packing up and moving house.

If you are fortunate enough to be able to buy in your desired area, owning your own home can give you a sense of not only financial stability but also emotional stability by having that “forever home”.

On the other hand, renting gives you the option for your home to grow with your family’s changing needs. Since you are only locked in for the period of the lease, you have the freedom to move on if you find your current home no longer suits your family’s needs.

It's also much easier to create a sense of home when living in a rental property these days since many rental properties are becoming more flexible – especially with pets.

Career

Our jobs can have a strong influence on many of the major decisions we make in our lives, particularly when it comes to where you want to live. Factors like affordability, access to public transport and proximity to the workplace all come into play.

One of the first, and probably most obvious things to consider when deciding whether to buy or rent is affordability. Does your job allow you to save up for a deposit now, and continue to make mortgage payments in the future?

Renting can sometimes offer you more options on your location as it is often comparatively cheaper than paying off a mortgage in the same area. Renting also allows for freedom if you need to move as a result of your job. On the other hand, buying can feel like a natural next step as you progress in your career. If this sounds like you, other factors to take into account are the suburb you would like to live in and the features you’ll need in your home.

Bessie Hassan, finder.com.au

Depending on your needs, this can affect the affordability of your dream home so it may just be a matter of waiting for the right time to buy.

Ultimately, if you’re feeling unsure about affordability, speaking to a professional is a great way to gauge your current and potential future financial positions.

Wanderlust

Travel is on most Aussies’ bucket lists.

Although it’s much more affordable now compared to when your parents were travelling, a three-week tour around Europe plus flights will still set you back anywhere between $3,000 and $6,000, not including spending money.

This can be bad news for potential homebuyers, particularly in major cities such as Sydney and Melbourne where house prices can be unaffordable at the best of times (even after cutting out the smashed avo).

In saying that, it’s important to think about what you value in life in the long term. Typically, renting will cost you less than a mortgage. So, if travel and worldly experience is your priority this could be a good option for you.

If home ownership is the goal you can still have the best of both worlds but you may need to consider cheaper travel options for the time being. And when the time comes, make sure you’re asking the right questions to get the best deal on your home loan.

At the end of the day, there’s no one size fits all. The most important thing is to take the time to see where you would like to be 5, 10 or even 20 years down the track. From there you can evaluate all the options available to you and start on your new property path.

Frequently asked questions

Do you save more money renting or buying?

This all depends on what you're saving money for. Whether you rent or buy, a portion of your regular income is going to have to be set aside for housing costs, right? If you're saving for a new car, a holiday or some new clothes, you've still got around the same levels of income left over to use as savings. 

If, however, the thing you're saving for is a housing deposit, it gets tough while renting. You still have to account for your rent - your housing costs, as a portion of your regular income, but you then need to be putting money aside for a deposit, as well as saving for any other big purchases you want to make.

Is renting wasting money?

Not necessarily. If you are happy to rent on an ongoing basis, as many are, then no - the rent you pay is just the cost to be deducted from your regular income for housing.

If, on the other hand, you're saving for a housing deposit to buy a place, then renting is easily seen as a waste of money, as it's paying off someone else's mortgage while you scrimp to be able to afford one of your own. The idea that rent is wasted money comes from the fact that buying a house is seen as an investment in your future, which you will hopefully one day be able to sell for a profit.

Bessie Hassan is a money expert at Finder

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