The answer to that question is, perhaps unsurprisingly, that it depends on your circumstances. The decision to move is often equally a lifestyle and financial decision, and it varies for each one of us based on our needs and preferences. Here are the key considerations to keep in mind as you navigate your own decision to buy or rent, along with some concrete examples on how to approximate and compare your financial costs in each scenario.
1. What’s your time horizon?
As you plan your move, it’s important to ask yourself how long you intend to live in your new home. The time horizon of your stay in that property is one of the key factors that should influence whether you choose to buy or rent.
The general rule is that the longer you plan to live in the home, the more favourable the decision to buy becomes. Real estate is a long-term investment and there are real costs associated with buying and then selling a property in the short run. Although the Canadian real estate market as a whole has experienced a decades-long streak of positive appreciation, the thousands of dollars in transaction costs such as land transfer taxes, moving costs, and real estate professional and legal fees will eat into any appreciation and may not justify the financial investment involved over the short term, even in the most positive market conditions.