Where are the best places to buy rather than rent?

Alex Johnson

90d686d271dc6c317fe978581d47369c0037e838 300x200 Where are the best places to buy rather than rent?Although buying a property remains 13% more cost-effective than renting, the gap is narrowing as house prices rise, according to the latest research by property search website

A year ago, renting in the UK was £993 per year on average more expensive than paying for a mortgage, but this gap has now come down by 3.2% to £961 and consequently the proportion of towns and cities where it is cheaper to buy than rent has fallen from 90% to 86%. House prices have climbed at a faster pace than rents with the cost of renting a two-bedroom flat across Britain now £84 (1.1%) more expensive on average than last year, while the cost of an interest-only mortgage on a typical two-bedroom flat has risen £120 (1.7%) on average.

Weaker house price growth in the north has meant that northern towns dominate Zoopla’s list of places where it is cheaper to buy than rent – York is top of the list here where tenants pay a £3,326 (42%) annual premium over owners. On the other side, higher property prices in the south have led to a number of places where it is cheaper to rent instead of buying with Plymouth at the head of the table – tenants here pay £845 (15%) per year less than owners on average. Despite the high rents in London, property price rises over the past year in the capital have now made renting 6% more cost-effective than buying.

Lawrence Hall of Zoopla, one of the Independent’s partners, said: “Buying remains significantly more cost-effective than renting, but the gap is closing. With increased mortgage availability buyer demand is rising, especially amongst first time buyers, whilst rental demand is falling so house prices are generally rising faster than average rents, although it is clear that large regional differences still exist.”


Rank Location Avg. Monthly Rent* Avg. Asking Price* Rental Premium**
1 York £940 £159,079 41.8%
2 Derby £563 £95,774 41.1%
3 Coventry £611 £105,578 38.9%
4 Hull £503 £87,769 37.5%
5 Bradford £507 £89,173 36.5%


Rank Location Avg. Monthly Rent* Avg. Asking Price* Rental Discount**
1 Plymouth £581 £163,207 -14.6%
2 Swansea £650 £172,914 -9.8%
3 Bournemouth £776 £205,491 -9.4%
4 London £2,427 £616,542 -5.5%
5 Stockport £585 £145,110 -3.2%

Thirtysomethings abandoning rural living as prices rise
People in their thirties are moving out of the countryside as house prices nearly double in some rural areas, according to new figures from the National Housing Federation which come during Rural Housing Week this week.

The NHF report shows the number of people aged 30-44 has dropped nearly 9% in rural areas over the last decade and the number of children under 10 in rural areas is down 2%. At the same time, the number of over-65s in rural areas has risen 2.5 times faster than in towns and cities while house prices have nearly doubled in the last decade, from £126,016 to £228,742.

Gill Payne, Director of Campaigns and Neighbourhoods at the National Housing Federation, said: “Young people are being priced out of rural England by rising housing costs and are moving elsewhere to raise their families. What will happen to the local shops and pubs, the village school, the small businesses that maintain rural economies, if there’s no-one left to keep them open?

“If we don’t start building more homes that ordinary families can afford, our treasured rural England will become the preserve of the old and wealthy. It’s up to all of us to halt this rural decline. Tell your local councillor to say yes to village life and yes to homes.”

Tagged in: , , , ,
  • John

    If you are looking in London then I would recommend South East London. You can get much cheaper houses than in the north but some of the areas are really beautiful and have great parks and travel into central London. has a good list of areas and a bit of a description of each if people are interested (they don’t do sales so you will have to find an agent that does but good descriptions to chose your area from).

Most viewed



Property search
Browse by area

Latest from Independent journalists on Twitter