Should I rent or buy?

More people in the UK are renting than ever before. We ask property expert Sarah Beeny whether we should rent or buy…


Should I rent or buy?

When you’re renting, you’re free to move at the drop of a hat, and you don't have to worry about the cost of maintaining the property. But the obvious disadvantage is that you don't benefit from a rise in house prices, meaning planning for the future can be harder. Having less security of tenure can be difficult, especially if you have a family – which is typically a stage in life at which we like to put down roots. And, of course, if you don’t buy, you'll still be paying rent long after your contemporaries have paid off their mortgages.

'In the UK, legislation makes it tricky to be a family in private rented accommodation and feel secure. Abroad, landlords tend to stay landlords for decades, meaning you’re less likely to be asked to leave your home when they want it back. It’s probably for this reason that renting is viewed much more positively abroad – fetishising home ownership is quite a British thing, but it’s also a response to the rental market.

In other countries, lenders to landlords are very keen on them getting longer-term tenants. This means there are fewer landlords in it for the short term, leading to a better deal for their tenants. If you’re a UK renter – enjoy the freedom, but make sure you're putting aside some money each month so you have a nest egg in older age.

For more from Sarah Beeny, see

Photograph: iStock

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