Renting vs Buying: Is Buying A House Better Than Renting?

Renting vs Buying: Is Buying A House Better Than Renting?

Purchasing a home is one of your most significant financial decisions. However, with the rise in real estate prices and strict mortgage regulations, the question of whether it’s better to buy or rent a house has become increasingly relevant.

Renting vs. buying is an old debate with pros and cons. Ownership brings stability, pride, and the possibility of long-term financial gain, but it also requires maintenance, property taxes, and market fluctuations.

However, renting gives you more flexibility, less financial commitment, and no care, but you never own your home and miss out on equity and capital gains.

So, is it better to buy or rent in Canada? In this guide, we dive into the economic, financial, and personal factors that come into play, providing you with the information you need to decide on the best option. Get ready to break down the complexities and weigh the benefits of buying vs. renting a house in Canada.

Buying A House

Buying a house may seem like a good idea, but you may need to know whether it is the best choice for you. A house purchase can be an excellent decision, but it is also not without its pitfalls. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons.


Pride of Ownership

Owning a home provides stability, security, and pride in your property. You can make changes and personalize your living space to suit your needs and tastes. 

This can create a more comfortable and inviting environment and a sense of attachment to the community.

Potential Financial Gain

The value of a home can appreciate over time, potentially providing a long-term financial gain when sold. This can be attractive for individuals looking to build wealth and secure their financial future. 

Also, home ownership can provide financial stability, as mortgage payments remain relatively constant, while rent prices can increase annually.

Control Over Living Space

When you own a home, you can control the living space and make changes as desired. This allows for complete customization and the ability to make improvements and upgrades that increase the property’s value.

Building Equity

As you make mortgage payments, you are building equity in the property, which can be leveraged for future financial investments. Equity can also serve as a financial safety net in times of need, providing emergency access to funds.


High Upfront Costs

Buying a home requires a substantial down payment, closing costs, and other fees (such as condo fees), which can be a significant financial burden. 

Homeownership can be out of reach for many individuals, especially those just starting out or with limited financial resources. Besides, the high upfront costs can make saving for other financial goals or investments challenging.

Maintenance Costs

Homeowners are responsible for all repairs, maintenance, and upgrades to the property, which can be expensive. 

This includes regular maintenance tasks such as lawn care and snow removal and more significant expenses like roof repairs and appliance replacements. 

The costs of maintenance and repairs can add up quickly, making it essential to budget for these expenses in advance.

Long-term Financial Commitment

Mortgages typically have an extended repayment period of 15-30 years, which can be a financial burden for many years. This commitment can also limit financial flexibility, as homeowners may need access to the funds they need to invest or pursue other financial goals.

Market Fluctuations

The value of a home can fluctuate based on economic conditions and local real estate market trends, which can impact your financial investments. This can result in a decline in the property’s value, making it difficult to sell or refinance in the future. 

As well, market fluctuations can make it challenging to predict the long-term financial benefits of homeownership.

Limited Mobility

Owning a home can be a commitment, as selling a home and relocating can be time-consuming and expensive. This can limit mobility and flexibility, making it difficult to pursue job opportunities or relocate for other reasons.

Homeowners may also be tied to a specific location, making it difficult to take advantage of new opportunities in other areas.

Renting A House

Renting is a great option for many people. It allows you to live in a community with like-minded people, but it also gives you the freedom to decide exactly how your space will look and feel.

However, renting has its downsides, not just the extra money you’ll be spending on rent every month! Here are some pros and cons of renting:


Greater Affordability

Renting a home can often be more affordable than buying, especially in areas with high housing prices. Leasing can provide a lower monthly payment and eliminates the need for a large down payment or closing costs associated with purchasing a home.

No to Limited Responsibility for Maintenance and Repairs

As a tenant, you are not responsible for making any repairs or maintenance to the property, which can save time and money. Any issues with the property are typically the landlord’s responsibility, making it easier for renters to enjoy their living space without any worries.

Unless the issue is due to normal wear and tear and is the tenants fault then they are usually responsible for the repairs.

Opportunity to Live in Different Neighborhoods

Renting allows individuals to live in different neighbourhoods or areas without committing to purchasing a home. This can be ideal for those who want to try different living environments or who plan to move frequently.

No Risk of Negative Equity

In a declining housing market, homeowners can face the risk of having a mortgage more remarkable than their property’s value, known as negative equity. On the other hand, renters are not impacted by these market fluctuations and are protected from this risk.


Lack of Control Over Living Space

With the landlord’s permission, renters can only make desired changes to the living space, such as painting walls or installing fixtures. This lack of control over the living environment can limit overall satisfaction.

Rent Increases

The rental costs can increase annually, resulting in a higher monthly payment and reduced financial flexibility. Also, renters have less control over rent increases, making it difficult to budget for housing costs in the long term.

No Build-up of Equity

Renting does not provide the opportunity to build equity in a property, as all payments go towards paying the landlord’s mortgage instead. This lack of equity can disadvantage those looking to build wealth and secure their financial future.

Limited Privacy and Security

Renters may need more privacy and security, as landlords may access the property for repairs or inspections. Additionally, renters may be subject to lease agreements and rules imposed by the landlord, which can impact the overall living experience.

Monthly Costs of Owning a House vs. Renting

Buying a house is often considered the best financial investment you can make in Canada. Owning a home is one of the most common ways to build wealth and generate a passive income that increases over time. 

It’s important to consider all factors when deciding whether buying or renting makes more sense for you. Here are some typical costs associated with both options:


CostsBuying a HouseRenting a House
Mortgage Payment$1,000 to $2,000N/A
Property Taxes0.5% to 2% of the home’s valueN/A
Maintenance and Repairs0.5% to 2% of home’s valueN/A
Homeowner’s Insurance$500 to $1,500 per yearN/A
RentN/A$1,00 to $2,500 per month(1 bedroom units)
UtilitiesN/A$150 to $400 per month
Renters InsuranceN/A$20 to $40 per month

Buying A House

Owning a house is a considerable investment. It’s important to know what it costs to upkeep your home. Here are some of the expenses you can expect when owning a house:

Mortgage Payment

One of the most considerable monthly costs associated with owning a house is the mortgage payment, which includes the principal and interest on the loan. The mortgage payment amount will depend on the loan size, interest rate, and mortgage term length.

On average, homeowners can expect to spend anywhere from $1,000 to $2,000 monthly on mortgage payments, depending on the cost of the home and interest rate.

Property Tax 

Homeowners are responsible for paying property taxes, typically assessed annually. The amount of property taxes owed will depend on the value of the home and the local tax rate. 

According to statistics, property taxes in Canada can range from 0.5% to 2.5% of the home’s value but can be higher in some areas.

Maintenance and Repairs

Homeowners are responsible for maintenance and repairs to keep the property in good condition. This can include fixing leaky faucets, replacing worn-out appliances, and maintaining the home’s exterior.

The average homeowner can expect to spend 1% to 3% of the home’s value on annual maintenance and repairs.

Homeowner’s Insurance

Homeowners are typically required to have homeowner’s insurance, which provides coverage for damage to the property caused by natural disasters or theft. 

The cost of homeowner’s insurance can vary depending on the coverage level, location of the property, and other factors. On average, homeowners can expect to spend between $500 and $1,500 per year on homeowner’s insurance.

Renting A House

Rental properties are a great way to get your feet in the door without having to take on a large financial commitment. The monthly costs of renting a house vary depending on a number of factors, including location and size.


The maximum monthly cost associated with renting a home is the rent payment paid to the landlord. The amount of rent owed will depend on the location and size of the rental property.

Typically, renters in Canada can expect to spend between $800 and $2,500 per month on rent, depending on the location and size of the rental property.

Utility Cost

Renters are typically responsible for paying for utilities, such as electricity, gas, water, and internet. The cost of these utilities will depend on usage and can vary monthly. On average, renters in Canada can expect to spend between $150 and $400 per month on utilities.

Renters Insurance

While renters insurance is not required by law, it is recommended that renters have insurance to protect their personal belongings and provide liability coverage. The cost of renters insurance will depend on the coverage level and other factors. The average cost of renters insurance in Canada is between $15 and $40 per month, depending on the level of coverage.

Check Out Renting vs. Buying a Home: The 5% Rule:

When Should You Keep Renting?

If you’re still renting, it’s probably because you can’t afford to buy a house. But there are times when it might be better to keep renting.

When You Have Job Instability or Uncertainty

If you have an uncertain or unstable job, consider continuing to rent until you have more stability. Owning a home comes with significant financial responsibilities, and you want to ensure that you have a stable source of income to cover these costs.

 When You Plan to Move soon

If you plan to move shortly, it may be more beneficial for you to continue renting. Buying a home requires a long-term commitment, and selling your home quickly can be difficult and expensive.

When You Don’t Have Enough Savings for a Down Payment

Before buying a home, you need to have enough savings for a down payment and closing costs. If you don’t have enough savings to cover these costs, it may be best to continue renting until you are better financially.

When You Don’t Want the Responsibility of Homeownership

Owning a home comes with many responsibilities, including maintenance and repairs. If you prefer not to take on these responsibilities, consider continuing to rent.

When You Have Debt

If you have high debt levels, it may be better to pay off that debt before buying a home. Owning a home comes with significant financial responsibilities, and you want to ensure that you are in a solid financial position before making this investment.

When Should You Buy A House?

The question is not whether or not you should be buying but when you should be buying. There are no hard and fast rules for when to buy a home. It depends on your situation and where you live. But some general guidelines can help you make the right decision.

When You Have a Stable Job and Income

One of the most important factors to consider when buying a home is your job stability and income. If you have a stable job and a steady source of income, you are more likely to secure a mortgage and be able to make mortgage payments over the long term. This can be a critical indicator that you are ready to take on the financial responsibility of homeownership.

When You Have A Good Credit Score,

Your credit score is another crucial factor to consider when buying a home. A good credit score can help you secure a lower interest rate on your mortgage, saving you thousands of dollars over the life of your loan.

 Before buying a home, you should check your credit score and work to improve it if necessary.

The Time You Have Enough Savings for a Down Payment

Before buying a home, you need to have enough savings for a down payment and closing costs. A down payment is typically between 5-20% of the purchase price, and closing costs can range from 2-5% of the purchase price.

You should ensure enough savings to cover these costs and still have a comfortable financial cushion for unexpected expenses.

When You Have a Long-Term Plan

When buying a home, it is essential to consider your long-term plans. Renting may be a better option if you plan to move within the next few years.

On the other hand, if you are planning to stay in the same area for an extended period, buying a home can provide you with a sense of stability and security and a long-term investment.

When Interest Rates are Low,

Interest rates can significantly impact your mortgage payment, and lower interest rates can save you thousands of dollars over the life of your loan. 

If you are considering buying a home, keep an eye on interest rates and consider purchasing when rates are low.

Is Rent To Own A Better Idea?

Renting to own is a popular option for many looking for a home. It offers the opportunity to purchase a house at a lower price than a standard mortgage and allows you to build equity in the property from day one.

Some may benefit from a rent-to-own agreement, but risks and higher costs are involved. According to a Consumer Financial Protection Bureau study, nearly 60% of people who enter into rent-to-own contracts end up losing money, often due to the non-refundable fees and higher rent prices associated with these agreements.

In addition, a report by the National Consumer Law Center found that many rent-to-own contracts have unclear terms and fail to disclose important information, such as the total cost of the purchase or the amount of rent credited towards the purchase price. This can result in confusion and unexpected costs for the buyer.

However, the benefits can be substantial for those who can complete a rent-to-own agreement. Rent-to-own agreements can help people build their credit and savings, allowing them to obtain a mortgage and purchase a home eventually.

It is essential to weigh the potential benefits and risks before entering a rent-to-own agreement. 

How Does Rent To Own Work In Canada?

Rent-to-own in Canada operates similarly to rent-to-own in other countries. According to the Canadian Housing and Mortgage Corporation, rent-to-own agreements in Canada are becoming increasingly popular, particularly among first-time homebuyers and those with limited access to traditional financing options.

In a rent-to-own agreement, a tenant rents a property for a set period, typically 1-3 years, with the opportunity to purchase the property at the end of the lease.

The tenant pays a monthly rent typically higher than the market rate, and a portion of this rent is credited toward the property’s purchase price.

At the end of the lease, the tenant can buy the property using the credits they have accumulated or walk away from the agreement without any obligation to purchase. 

A Canadian Association of Rent-to-Own Professionals survey found that approximately 10% of Canadians have entered into rent-to-own agreements. Of those, 90% eventually went on to purchase the property. 

It is important to note that rent-to-own agreements in Canada are typically private arrangements between the tenant and the owner. They may not be subject to the same regulations and protections as traditional rental agreements or mortgage loans.

Before entering into a rent-to-own agreement, it is crucial to thoroughly understand the terms and conditions of the deal, including the total cost of the purchase, the amount of rent credited towards the purchase price, and any legal fees or penalties associated with the agreement.

It is recommended that you seek the assistance of a financial advisor or housing counsellor to ensure that the rent-to-own agreement aligns with your financial goals and to explore alternative options, such as traditional mortgages or government-sponsored housing programs.

What Can Buttonwood Do For You?

Are you looking for a stress-free rental or buying experience? Look no further than Buttonwood Property Management!

Buttonwood Property Management can provide services to those considering renting or buying a house. For renters, Buttonwood can help find suitable rental properties that meet their needs and budget and assist with the rental application and lease agreement process.

For those considering buying a house, Buttonwood can provide valuable insight and guidance on the local real estate market and help connect them with real estate agents and mortgage brokers. 

Buttonwood can also assist with property inspections and negotiations, ensuring that the buying process is smooth and stress-free.

In both cases, Buttonwood can provide professional and reliable property management services, ensuring that the property is well-maintained and that tenants or buyers have a positive experience. If you are considering renting or buying a house, you may contact Buttonwood for more information and to discuss your specific needs and goals.


Should I Buy A Condo or Rent?

The decision to buy a condo or rent a property depends on various factors, including your financial situation, personal preferences, and long-term goals. 

Buying a condo can provide the stability of homeownership and the potential for long-term appreciation while also allowing you to build equity over time.

On the other hand, renting can offer more flexibility, lower upfront costs, and fewer responsibilities for maintenance and repairs.

In addition to considering your credit rating, income, debts, and career plans, consider your family situation and long-term goals. Consider the costs associated with homeownership, such as land transfer taxes, insurance, and maintenance, as well as the potential costs of renting, such as security deposits and moving expenses.

Can You Buy An Apartment Instead of Renting?

Absolutely! Owning an apartment can provide a sense of stability, personalization, and the potential for long-term financial benefits. Also, it is wise to research the local real estate market, including the availability of affordable apartments and current interest rates, to ensure that purchasing an apartment aligns with your financial goals.

According to The Globe and Mail, buying an apartment is more affordable than renting in most Canadian cities.

However, if you live in another city where buying an apartment is not as affordable as renting one, then staying put may be the better option for your wallet.

Is It Advisable To Buy A House Now?

Yes, a Canadian can buy a house in the USA. However, purchasing a property in the United States as a foreign national can be a complex process, and it is vital to understand the laws, regulations, and cultural differences.

Consider the cost of living and the local real estate market in the area where you are considering purchasing a property.

It is advisable to seek the advice of a real estate agent and a financial advisor, who can assist you with the purchasing process, and a real estate attorney who can provide legal advice. Consider the exchange rate and the potential impact of currency fluctuations on your investment.

Is It Advisable To Buy A House Now?

Yes. The housing market has recovered, and buyers have great opportunities. The real estate market has been on the upswing for a few years now, but it still needs to be at its peak from before the recession. 
The real estate market and interest rates may be favourable for some buyers. Still, it’s essential to consider all aspects of your financial profile, including income, debts, and plans, before making a decision.

Further, this decision also depends on where you live, how much money you have saved for the down payment and closing costs, and how much you can afford in monthly payments.

Thus, it’s always better to research the real estate market in your area, the cost of living, and the availability of affordable homes to ensure that purchasing a house aligns with your financial goals. With the right plan and approach, now may be an excellent time to consider purchasing a house.

So there you have it: buying a house is a great way to invest in yourself and your future. Whether you’re looking to buy a home as an investment or want to live in one, buying can be a great option.
But remember, buying isn’t suitable for everyone, depending on what you want out of your housing situation. If you can’t buy right now, renting may be the better choice for your long-term goals.

Whatever your situation, make sure your choice is informed by research into current market conditions and knowledge of your financial situation, objectives, and needs.
We hope this guide has helped you understand the pros and cons of both options so that you can make an informed decision about whether now is the right time for you to buy or rent your next home!

Sabine Ghali
Sabine Ghali
Helping real estate investors build wealth over time

Sabine Ghali, Managing Director at Buttonwood Property Management, Award Winning Real Estate Broker and an Entrepreneur at heart. Sabine is on a mission to help investors create real estate wealth over time in the Greater Toronto Area. Sabine is published in a number of media outlets, including Toronto Star, The Globe and Mail, Toronto Sun, Entrepreneur, Forbes, and Gulf News, among many others.