BRICKS AND MORTAR: Buying real estate is one of the biggest decisions most people will ever make.
BRICKS AND MORTAR: Buying real estate is one of the biggest decisions most people will ever make. Tammy Lewis

The property dilemma: How to choose renting or buying

TO BUY or not to buy - that is the question that can keep house hunters and investors awake for many hours at night.

With interest rates at all-time lows and the Sunshine Coast property market proving over the years to be a good investment, property may seem like the best long-term investment.

And with so many banks and money lenders outdoing each other to provide the best rate, who could blame homeowners for wanting to shop around?

But financial advisor Tony Pearson from Nest Egg Solutions cautions people to sit down and consider what they want from their investment before wading into the property market and switching banks.


Mr Pearson personally didn't believe the Sunshine Coast "supposed property bubble" was all over.

"In Sydney and Melbourne the prices are inflated and go quickly. I'm not sure if the rest of the country is doing that," he said.

"There are positives and negatives with renting and buying.

"The positive is you own your home, it's your castle and you can put up pictures.

"But one thing people forget when buying a house is the large cost upfront, including stamp duty, legal costs and a deposit.

"With renting, it is only a bond. The other negative is, if you own a house, you have to maintain it and make sure it's up-to-date with rates, insurance and so on."

Mr Pearson said while the difference between an affordable rental at $450 a week and paying off an affordable $450,000 home wasn't too steep, it was the extras that counted.

"Paying off a mortgage on that amount would be $510 a week, which isn't a great deal, but then you add rates, water costs and maintaining the property and it adds up.

"If you are going to rent, consider external investments."

Switching mortgages also required "careful consideration".

"It's important to shop around before buying as the big four banks aren't the only mortgage providers," Mr Pearson said. "Refinancing is a different matter.

"You don't just consider the interest rates, you have to consider the breaking the mortgage and moving over costs."

Ultimately, Mr Pearson said the decision depended on where a person was at.

"If you're only here for six months, it's not worthwhile buying," he said.