Is it better to buy or rent?

Big question. Generally speaking, in Nova Scotia it is often cheaper to buy than to rent. Why? Because we have an aging population, and more and more people are moving from their homes into rentals. Further adding to rental demand are the numerous people who are renting their homes as vacation homes. So there is a shortage of rental housing in many markets making buying often the best and most affordable option. In Halifax, rentals for a two bedroom apartment could be anywhere from 1500-2500 or even higher depending on the location. For this amount of money you could purchase a two story home in many areas of the city in the 250-350k price range. You can still buy a very nice place in Halifax for this kind of money.

There are different costs associated with renting and buying. Using Bankrate’s rent vs. buy calculator helps you break down some of these expenses.

Most rental properties require a security deposit, which protects the landlord against damage caused by the renter. You’ll usually put down the first and final month’s rent payments when you sign a lease. When evaluating a lease contract, ask if your monthly rent includes utilities, such as water, electric, gas, cable or internet.

For homebuyers, one of the biggest ongoing costs of homeownership is your monthly mortgage payment, which includes the loan’s principal and interest amounts. Your payments can go up or down over time if your loan is variable rate or your property taxes and homeowners insurance premiums change. If you put less than 20 percent down, your lender will typically require you to purchase private mortgage insurance, or PMI, which drives up your monthly payments, too.

Renting vs. buying a home: A comparison



  • May build equity and credit
  • No landlord to answer to
  • More stability (especially with schools)
  • Possible tax benefits
  • Can improve or upgrade home to your taste


  • Requires substantial money, paperwork up front
  • Could lose money if home values decline
  • Extra expenses beyond mortgage payments
  • Rising home prices and low inventory in many markets
  • Responsible for repairs, remodeling



  • Fewer upfront costs and paperwork
  • Freedom to be more mobile
  • Not responsible for maintenance, repairs
  • No need to worry about falling home values
  • Build credit (if your landlord reports rent payments to the credit bureaus)
  • No property tax bills


  • Landlord can raise rent or sell the property
  • Choices may be limited depending on vacancies
  • Might have to move multiple times
  • Don’t build equity
  • No tax benefits


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