Renting a home has become cheaper than buying one for the first time in six years, a report finds.

The average private tenant paid £1,054 rent last month — £71 less than the £1,125 average cost of servicing a 10% deposit mortgage, estate and lettings agents Hamptons said.

It is the first time since December 2014 that renting has been cheaper — turning the tables on March last year when the average buyer was £102 per month better off.

London has seen the biggest shift since the start of the pandemic, with buyers paying £123 per month less than renters last March but now paying £251 more.

In early 2020, it was cheaper to buy than rent in every part of Britain, Hamptons said.

Now that is only the case in the north-east, north-west, Yorkshire and Humber, and Scotland.

Strong house price growth has added to the cost of buying. But the average cost of a newly let rental home was also 7.1% higher last month than a year earlier — the biggest leap since records began in 2013.

Aneisha Beveridge, of Hamptons, said: ‘It is likely the balance will swing back towards buying as mortgage rates come down.

‘However, this is likely to be partly offset by rising house prices.’

Mortgage expert Pete Mugleston, from Online Mortgage Advisor, said it’s no surprise London has been affected the most by this.

He said: ‘London has always been known for it’s incredibly high rental prices, but as people have re-located out of the city due to being able to work from home, or to move back in with their parents, it’s left a lot of rental properties vacant and the demand just isn’t there like it was pre-COVID.

‘That said, we’re now (hopefully) at the tail end of the pandemic, so it’s likely that the property industry is going to continue to change and adapt in line with the demands of the public, and rent prices are likely going to revert back to how they previously were.’

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