To buy or rent in Sydney?

By Kay Rivera | 23 Apr 2019

In 60% of the cases between 1992 and 2017, home buyers would have been better off renting and maintaining a leveraged ASX200 investment than purchasing a home, according to an analysis by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, Family & Community Services and Reserve Bank of Australia.

This finding provides an opportunity to settle whether it is better to rent than to purchase a home, said Jo Masters,  Ernst and Young’s (EY) chief economist.

“We would caution against just assuming that homeownership is the only way to create future wealth. The conversation needs to be broader and a consideration of alternatives needs to be a part of the conversation,” she said. “It’s time to give up on the mindset that renting is dead money. Yes, when you’re paying rent to a landlord, you’re not investing in an asset that you own – but with today’s property prices you could be better off renting somewhere affordable and investing the cash you’ve saved.”

EY revealed that if property players purchased a unit in Woollahra, five kilometres east of the Sydney CBD, 15 years ago and sold in 2014, they would have been better off renting.

“While there are many factors to consider when purchasing a home, renters should consider whether they will be better off purchasing a home or becoming long-term renters. In addition to considering financial wealth, long-term renters can also enjoy significant lifestyle benefits – particularly a mobility dividend from being able to easily relocate for work and no long-term maintenance and depreciation risk,” said Masters.

Home buyers in suburbs like Canterbury, the CBD and Waverly came off best, depending on the period examined. Renters in Hunters Hill, Ku-Ring-Gai, and Manly, meanwhile, came out better than homeowners.


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