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Buying a property in Australia is expensive. Demographia’s annual International Housing Affordability Survey found that five of the country’s most populated cities ranked within the top 20 least affordable major housing markets around the world.

House prices across Australia have risen on average by over 40% over the last five years, far outstripping an average 13% increase in wages over the same period. In Sydney, prices have rocketed by 70%, leaving many first-time buyers unable to afford a deposit.

If all that wasn’t enough, the average cost of stamp duty has also increased by up to 800% over the last 20 years.

With figures such as these, it’s understandable that many families are questioning whether they’d be better off renting or buying.

To help guide the way, we’ve compiled a list of pros and cons for both options.

Buying Pros

+ It’s a Sound Investment

House prices are doubling in value every decade across Australia’s capital cities, according to figures released last year.

If you can get on the property ladder from day one in Australia, you’re effectively sitting on a gold mine.

+ There’s Huge Rental Demand

Rental demand across New South Wales rose by 12.5% over the last 12 months. As a homeowner in such a location, you could easily rent out a room to put towards your mortgage costs.

+ It Provides Security and Comfort

Having your own property allows you to decorate and renovate your home to your own liking. This is especially important when first moving to a foreign country, as you need to feel comfortable in your own home.

Buying Cons

–  You’ll Likely Need a Huge Mortgage

The average mortgage in Australia is $488,875. That’s likely to represent a large amount of your monthly expenditure. For retirees, this could mean less loose change to spend on overseas trips or activities with the family.

– Bills, Taxes and Maintenance are Expensive

When buying a property, you also have to pay for stamp duty and legal/conveyance fees, which can run into the thousands.

Any repairs or renovations are also likely to hit your purse or wallet hard, with the average handyman charging $50 an hour for their services. Luckily, there are many skilled tradies available across Australia.

Renting Pros

+ Flexibility

Not too sure about the area that you’ve moved to? Maybe it’s a great area for the kids, but once they’ve left for university is it where you still want to be?

With renting, you can come and go as you please, meaning that you can be flexible if your circumstances or desires change.

+ You Can Live in More Affluent Areas

Renting is more affordable than home ownership in Oz, which means you can choose to live in an area that provides you with a greater quality of life.

+ No Debt

Having a large mortgage can leave to you having to make sacrifices in your personal life to be able to afford the monthly repayment costs.

+ You’re Not Responsible for Maintenance Costs

A landlord will be responsible for the cost of maintaining your property and for paying the property’s yearly taxes.

Renting Cons

– You Lack Control

At the other end of the scale, a landlord can effectively decide to terminate any living arrangement at their own discretion. Having this thought looming over your shoulder can make it difficult to settle into new surroundings.

–   You’re Probably Paying for Someone Else’s Mortgage

This begs the obvious question: why not pay for your own?

Forget Decorating

You will have little say over the décor of a property that isn’t your own. Finding somewhere that suits your tastes that’s both within budget and in favourable location can be difficult.

Finally…

Home ownership is seen by many as an important aspect of starting your family life. What we’ve hopefully shown, however, is that renting shouldn’t be dismissed outright. Everyone’s circumstances are different, but for those looking for ease and flexibility, renting could provide the perfect starting point.

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