Renting is usually more affordable compared to buying. You could therefore rent a bigger property, or in an area where you might not be able to buy. That said, you could always rent in one area and invest in another. Many people do that.
Renting also offers more flexibility in that you could move within a reasonably short period of time as you could potentially cancel your lease, subject to payment of a cancellation penalty. You will, however, not enjoy the freedom to make changes to the property or to customise it to your needs.
The maintenance, property costs and risks will generally be minimal in the case of a rental. However, you will be paying off someone else’s property and will have nothing to show for your money at the end of the rental period.
Rental rates tend to increase annually which means that in the long-term, it usually costs more to rent than buy. There is also no long-term security as the landlord may decide not to renew your lease, or could even decide to sell the property at the end of the lease period.
Ultimately, the decision will depend on your personal circumstances, but Seeff says owning the roof over your head should always be a priority if you are financially able to do so. If you are a first-time buyer, you should do your homework and ensure you make provision for interest rate fluctuations.
Courtesy of Samual Seeff, Gina Meintjes and Private Property