Rent versus buy: What makes more cents?


The debate to rent or to buy has heated up following a new investigation by , which found Australians are likely to pay almost the same cost to buy a home compared to renting for the next 30 years.

Finder analysed RP Data Rismark Daily Home Value Index, and found the total cost for the national median house price with a 30-year loan term is over $1.2 million.

Key points:

  • National median house price to cost Australians over $1.2 million over 30 years
  • But renting to cost almost just as much, with inflation considered
  • It’s worth considering buying a home but remember to compare deals before jumping in!


More details:

The national median house price is $565,000. For a loan amount of $519,839 (using a 10 percent deposit) borrowers will pay $3,485 in monthly repayments, including Lenders Mortgage Insurance (LMI) of $11,339 capitalised into the loan (projected average interest rate of 7 percent based on the past 10 years historical average, for a 30-year loan term).

Even saving a 20 percent deposit will still cost over $1.08 million for the median national house price over 30 years.

Compared to renting, the national median weekly rent for a house is currently $424, which equates to about $998,830 over 30 years (adding current inflation of 2.7 percent p.a.).[sam id=36 codes=’true’]

Money Expert from Michelle Hutchison said it can be a tough decision to choose between renting and buying a home.

“The question to stay renting or to enter the property market is a constant struggle for many Australians because of property prices, saving for a deposit and uncertainty of interest rates. But if you compare the likely cost of rent for the next 30 years, it’s worth considering buying a home.

“In fact, we found that it’s more affordable to maintain a mortgage now than it was three years ago, because of the low interest rate environment.

“The important thing to remember is that when the loan term ends and you’ve paid off your home, that property is yours to keep and likely to be worth more, whereas if you’re renting that money has paid for someone else’s investment.”


State comparison of home loan costs

●      Based on the median house price, six of the eight capital cities are looking to pay over $1 million in total home loan repayments. Sydney will be paying the most with over $1.6 million in total payments followed by Melbourne at $1.3 million.

●      For borrowers looking for units, prices for Sydney and Melbourne will also cost over $1 million.

●      Hobart borrowers will pay the least for a house, paying just under $770,000 in total cost with a 10% deposit.

“The cost of buying a home is becoming an even bigger challenge for Australians, where house payments could potentially be as high as $1.6 million over a loan term for a median Sydney house,” said Mrs Hutchison.

“But don’t be intimidated by high property prices because it’s a great time to enter the market while interest rates are low, as long as you’ve factored in rising costs down the track. And if you can afford to get in the property market it’s important to compare home loans and take advantage of competitive rates, which can save you thousands of dollars.

“For instance, even finding a lower rate of 0.25 percentage points is worth about $80 per month for a $500,000 loan and potentially about $29,000 over 30 years (based on the difference between 6 percent and 5.75 percent)

State comparison of home loan costs

Total cost median house with 10% deposit by state


Of course the big thing missing from this argument is…

At the end of 30 years one group of people will own a substantial asset and and the other won’t, so clearly there’s no real comparison



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Michael is a director of Metropole Property Strategists who help their clients grow, protect and pass on their wealth through independent, unbiased property advice and advocacy. He's once again been voted Australia's leading property investment adviser and one of Australia's 50 most influential Thought Leaders. His opinions are regularly featured in the media. Visit

'Rent versus buy: What makes more cents?' have 2 comments

    Avatar for Michael Yardney

    July 23, 2014 Rhys

    Good analysis, and I completely agree. The thing it fails to mention is the possibility of investing the money saved by renting into an investment class that provides higher returns.


    Avatar for Michael Yardney

    March 2, 2014 Perry Morcombe

    Did I miss something in this article? The buying example is slightly more expensive than the rental one, but in the buying example, don’t you actually own the house or unit after 30 years, meaning firstly you have an asset, and secondly you don’t have to pay rent, around the time you retire from work, in 30 years time???


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