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Renting Vs. Owning

Buying vs. Renting: Homeowners Come Out Ahead, Study Says

Despite higher home prices and larger mortgages, monthly housing costs are currently lower for homeowners—on average—compared to renters.

In fact, in the second quarter of this year, homeowners paid on average $769 less per month compared to renting an equivalent dwelling, according to a new survey sponsored by Royal LePage.

“For those who are able to secure a sufficient down payment, it is more financially beneficial to buy a home in Canada than to rent over the long term, in 91% of cases analyzed,” reads a release from Royal LePage. The cases analyzed assumed the borrower was able to put down a 20% down payment.

“Historically, homeownership has been very profitable for Canadians, many of whom have factored their real estate investments into their retirement planning,” Karen Yolevski, chief operating officer at Royal LePage Real Estate Services Ltd., said in a release. “Owning a home is widely viewed as a means to save money and build equity.”

More than 270 scenarios were analyzed by survey author Will Dunning, president of Will Dunning Inc. “This research tests a belief that is held by a lot of Canadians, that owning is better financially than renting,” Dunning said. “And, [the research] finds that this belief is very often correct.”

While most of today’s buyers count on home price appreciation, the study found that even if there was no growth in home values, homeownership would result in a positive rate of return on investment in most cases.

The total monthly costs for owning a home may be more than renting, but one factor that gives the edge to homeowners is the equity that’s accumulated with each mortgage payment.

The principal portion of each monthly payment can be considered a form of forced saving.

Today’s Homeowners Building Equity Faster Than Ever

Despite record-high home prices, historically low mortgage rates are still allowing today’s homeowners to pay down their mortgages faster than ever.

At today’s rates, more than 60% of an average borrower’s first mortgage payment goes towards the principal, according to data from Edge Realty Analytics.

This means that at prevailing rates, today’s new buyer will have paid off at least 16% of their mortgage within the first five years.

Comparatively, for homeowners in the 1980s, five years of mortgage payments resulted in just 3.8% of their mortgage being paid down.

The Royal LePage analysis included all costs associated with buying and selling a home, including closing costs, fees for lawyers and real estate agents and land transfer taxes. It also took into consideration ongoing costs, such as utilities, repairs, homeowners’ insurance and condo fees.

The scenarios tested included a mortgage renewal at a higher interest rate of 3.64% in five years. “Even in that scenario, homeownership is expected to remain more affordable than renting, in most situations,” the analysis found.