TAKING on a mortgage is a more attractive option than renting in a number of regional Australian towns, a report has revealed.
RP Data's annual Buy vs Rent Report showed Australia-wide there were 238 suburbs/towns where median mortgage repayments - based on principal and interest payments on a variable rate home loan - were cheaper than the median rent.
Regional areas dominated the list, accounting for 162 of the 238 places where it was cheaper to take out a mortgage than it was to pay rent and help someone pay off their loan.
And this was no more so than in Queensland, where of the 84 suburbs/towns where it was cheaper to buy than rent, 68 were in regional towns and 16 in Brisbane.
Of the regions, Mackay had the second most places where it was cheaper to buy, with 12.
In New South Wales, there were 54 suburbs where it was cheaper to buy than rent, and again this figure was dominated by the regions with 32 compared to Sydney's 22.
South Grafton and North Lismore were the only towns in APN's footprint where it was cheaper to buy a property than to fork out rent.
The Hunter had by far the most suburbs where buying was more attractive than renting, with 10.
RP Data research director Tim Lawless said a number of factors were contributing to improved housing affordability.
"With lower mortgage rates, tight rental markets resulting in some rental increases and lower home values, many buyers may now see as a good time to either re-enter the market or buy their first home," Mr Lawless said.
The researchers also compared median rents to interest-only (variable and fixed rates) and fixed principal and interest loans.
Using interest-only loans as a comparison, the number of suburbs/towns where it was cheaper to buy than rent expanded to 1320.
The report is based on data and analysis in the 12 months to June.