A unit in this Hamilton Rd block in Fairfield recently sold for $375,000 and rents out for $370 per week.
IT would have been unthinkable even a year ago — but falling property prices and still low interest rates have made buying a home cheaper than renting one in a growing number of NSW areas.
The majority of these suburbs are within Newcastle and the Hunter Region, but a 2.3 per cent annual drop in prices has also made buying cheaper than renting in the Sydney suburb of Fairfield.
Analysis of property sales and lending data revealed renting a unit in the suburb 35km southwest of the Sydney CBD was about $130 more expensive each year than paying down a mortgage.
A typical mortgage on an apartment valued at the Fairfield median unit price of $420,000 would cost about $20,669 per year at current lending rates.
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Renting, meanwhile, would cost $400 per week or $20,800 per year, according to the analysis of CoreLogic data.
This two-bedroom unit on Fairlight Ave in Fairfield sold for $385,000.
The study compared only mortgage and rental costs and excluded strata fees — an expense typically charged to owners but not renters.
Other areas where mortgage repayments were cheaper than typical rents included suburbs within Hunter towns Maitland, Kurri Kurri and Singleton. The savings ranged from $300 to $900 a year.
Typical mortgage repayments on houses were also cheaper than rent in the coal mining town of Muswellbrook, in the north of the Hunter.
In Newcastle, mortgage repayments were cheaper than average rent in the suburbs of Beresfield and Wallsend, depending on the housing category.
An aerial view of Nobbys headland and beach in Newcastle. There are two suburbs in the city where typical mortgage repayments are cheaper than rent.
In Wallsend, units were $334 per year cheaper to pay down, while the saving on paying down Beresfield houses was $142.
PK Property Buyers Agents director Peter Kelaher said falling prices meant it was a good time to be a buyer in many areas.
He added that buyers could get particularly good deals if they waited until December as many sellers would be hoping to offload their homes quickly before the start of the New Year.
“The best homes, those A-grade properties, will still be expensive, but if you’re willing to go for C-grade or D-grade homes, the ones that might need a bit of a renovation, you can get very good deals,” he said.
And while the research suggested it was a good time to buy in many areas, it may also be a good time for tenants to renegotiate their rent.
Finder.com.au money expert Bessie Hassan said renters should try to find out what comparable properties were being rented at.
“An increasing number of rental properties are being advertised with a price range rather than a set price, which means you have more bargaining power,” she said.
“If you’re looking for a new rental property or re-signing a lease, it pays to check how much your neighbours are paying … if you feel like you’re paying too much rent, don’t be shy to ask for a better deal.”
SUBURBS WHERE AVG. REPAYMENTS ARE CHEAPER THAN RENT
Houses: Dungog, Gloucester, Merriwa, Bellbird, Woodberry, Aberdeen, Kurri Kurri, Aberdare, Singleton Heights, Muswellbrook, Weston, Singleton, Abermain, East Branxton, Beresfield
Units: Wallsend, East Maitland, Fairfield