Rent vs Buy

Is It Better to Buy or Rent?

Whether renting is better than buying depends on many factors, particularly how fast prices and rents rise and how long you stay in your home. Compare the costs of buying and renting a home in the calculator below. Click the advanced settings button to change inputs such as your rate of return on investments, condo/common fees and your tax bracket.


Year-by-year analysis

Year 6

If you stay in your
home for 6 years,
buying is better.

It will cost you
$10,460 less
than renting,
an average savings of
$1,743 each year.

*Property taxes, the interest part of the mortgage payment, and in some cases, a portion of the common charges, are tax deductible. The resulting tax savings is accounted for in each item’s totals.

Buying Spent in
year 6
Cumulative spent
from years 1 to 6
Purchase costs
Down payment   34,400  
Closing costs   6,880  
Yearly costs
Mortgage payment* 7,988 47,564
Principal 2,439 12,813
Interest* 5,549 34,751
Condo/common fees* 0 0
Property taxes* 2,092 11,952
Utilities 1,325 7,570
Renovations 968 5,533
Maintenance 968 5,533
Homeowner’s insurance 891 5,091
Lost opportunity costs
Down payment/initial costs 1,659 9,170
Yearly costs 2,510 7,315
Selling costs
Closing costs   11,622  
Remaining principal   124,787  
Tax (if any) on profit   0  
Proceeds from home sale   –193,700  
Year 6 totals $18,402 $83,718  
Renting Spent in
year 6
Cumulative spent
from years 1 to 6
Initial renting costs
Rent deposit   1,100  
Broker’s fee   0  
Yearly costs
Rent 15,302 85,383
Renter’s insurance 202 1,127
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Lost opportunity costs
Rent deposit/initial costs 44 244
Yearly costs 2,579 7,424
Leaving your rental
Return of rent deposit   –1,100  
 
 
 
  $18,128 $94,179  

Methodology

"The calculator keeps a running tally of the most common expenses of owning and renting. It also takes into account something known as lost opportunity costs — for example, the return you could have earned by investing your money instead of spending it on a down payment. The calculator assumes that the profit you would have made in your investments would be taxed as long-term capital gains and adjusts the bottom line accordingly. The calculator tabulates lost opportunity costs for all parts of the buying and renting scenarios."

Buying

Purchase costs are the costs you incur when you go to the closing for the home you are purchasing. This includes the down payment and typical closing costs.

Yearly costs are recurring monthly or yearly expenses. These include mortgage payments, condo fees (or other community living fees), renovation costs, maintenance costs, property taxes and homeowner’s insurance. Property taxes, the interest part of the mortgage payment, and in some cases, a portion of the common charges, are tax deductible. The resulting tax savings is accounted for in each item’s totals. The mortgage payment amount increases each year for the term of the loan because the tax credit shrinks each year as the interest portion of the payments becomes smaller.

Lost opportunity costs are tracked for the initial purchase costs and for the yearly costs. The former will give you an idea of how much you could have made if you had invested the down payment instead of buying your home.

Selling costs are the costs you incur when you go to the closing for the home you are selling. This includes the broker’s commission and other fees, as well as the remaining principal balance that you pay to your mortgage bank. “Proceeds from home sale” is the money that you receive from the person who is buying your home. This amount is equal to the value of the home that year and is shown as a negative number since it is not something that you spend money on, but rather, it is money you receive.

If your cumulative buying total is negative, it actually means you have done very well: you made enough of a profit that it not only covered the cost of your home, but also all of your yearly operating expenses.

Renting

Initial costs are the rent security deposit and, if applicable, the broker’s fee.

Yearly costs are the monthly rent and the cost of renter’s insurance.

Lost opportunity costs are calculated each year for both your initial costs and your yearly costs.

Leaving your rental is equal to the rent security deposit, typically returned to a renter at the end of a lease.