Renting now cheaper than owning a first home in nearly all UK regions

27 March 2024

  • South West, London and Scotland now the only regions where owning a first home is cheaper than renting.
  • Monthly home-owning costs for first-time buyers have risen 113% in the last decade and rental costs have gone up 82%.
  • East of England has widest gap, with renters £2,325 better off annually, compared to owning an equivalent homes.
  • Schemes that support first-time buyers still critical, as monthly rental costs reach highest in 10 years.

The monthly cost to first-time buyers of owning a home is now £1,231, -£27 lower than renting an equivalent property.

This is the smallest gap between home ownership and renting recorded since 2019, according to the latest Halifax Owning vs Renting Review.

The analysis, based on the housing costs associated with a mortgage on a three-bed home compared to the average monthly rent of the same property type, found that monthly rental costs in 2023 grew by 24% to £1,258, while home-owning costs grew by 27% to £1,231.

There are many advantages to owning a home - as well as the annual savings of £319, compared to renting, it can offer long-term financial stability and remains an aspiration for many people.

Regional and national difference

However, the monthly cost of owning a first home compared to the equivalent rental cost, was higher in nine out 12 UK regions or nations last year.

Renters are making the biggest savings compared to first-time buyers in the East of England, where they are an average £2,325 better off each year.

Renting in the South East (£1,859), East Midlands (£1,741) and Yorkshire & the Humber (£1,731) also saw significant yearly savings when compared to owning a first home.

The South West, London and Scotland are the only regions or nations where owning a first home is cheaper than renting. The largest annual savings are in the South West (owners £1,663 better off).

Kim Kinnaird, Mortgages Director, Halifax said: “Our latest analysis shows that, in nearly all regions across the UK, first-time buyers are better off renting than owning a similar home. In fact, the only regions where it’s cheaper to own rather than rent, are the South West, London and Scotland.

“We know home ownership can offer long term financial and living stability and that's why we believe it’s an important step to take. Our customers want to create a secure future, so it's a big priority for us to help people get there.

However, elevated borrowing costs, alongside a lack of available homes to buy, is pushing ownership further out of reach for would-be first-time buyers in many parts of the country.

This is why we’re major participants and big supporters of the Government’s affordable home ownership schemes, such as shared ownership and the mortgage guarantee scheme and we're committed to helping first-time buyers fulfil their dreams of having a place to call their own.”