New online tool compares lifetime rental and buying costs – which makes better financial sense for you?

Renting but considering buying? This new online calculator helps you decide if buying – or continuing to rent – where you live is a savvy choice

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We all know the short-term costs of renting, and choose where we live partly based on local rental prices. But what about the long term? What if you found out that renting actually makes more financial sense than buying in your area, if you think in terms of decades rather than a few years? And vice versa: what if squirrelling away cash to buy really will save you money in the long run?

A new online tool developed by the window furnishing company Thomas Sanderson allows you to convert this long-term thinking into concrete figures, offering data on average rental costs for a total of 50 years. 

It also provides a valuable insight into the overall financial benefits (or otherwise) of renting as opposed to buying in different areas of the country. No surprises here: the top five most expensive places to rent over time are in Surrey, while the five cheapest are all in Scotland. 

The disparity in cost is staggering: renting in Surrey's Virginia Water would set you back nearly £2.5 million over half a century, whereas renting in Darvel in East Ayrshire would cost £187,200. 

Why not check your area – and let us know which is more financially worthwhile, renting or buying?