With rising house prices and declining affordability, particularly for first homebuyers, there’s been a growing chorus of backers advocating the benefits of renting over buying a home.

At a glance, renting certainly holds strong appeal. You have the opportunity to live in the area you want, rent payments are generally less than mortgage repayments and you don’t have all of the utility and maintenance costs and responsibilities that go along with being a homeowner.

But to make an assessment based on these short-term considerations would be to overlook the bigger picture. Many of the benefits of home ownership are not realised in the short-term, but over a much longer time frame.

The obvious benefit of owning your own home is the financial security it provides. Housing is a safe, steady investment and house prices generally rise significantly over many years, while your level of loan debt reduces at the same time. This dynamic means that over time, the wealth of the homeowner steadily grows.

Aside from the financial stability which owning your own home can provide, there are many other benefits of home ownership. For example, making regular repayments to your home loan is also a form of forced saving. Unless you have an extreme amount of discipline, it is near impossible very difficult to rent and at the same time be able to save and invest a similar amount of money as to what you would be paying in home loan repayments. In contrast, homeowners have no choice but to make regular home loan repayments, and with each payment their debt reduces and prospective wealth grows.

There are also many non-financial benefits of owning a home, and that’s where the real value of home ownership lies. It enables a homeowner to put down roots and make connections in their community from which they draw a sense of belonging, pride, well-being and stability. As a homeowner, you don’t have the pressure to uproot and move every 12 months or few years. You become a part of the community and you decide when and if you want to move.

Homeowners also enjoy a freedom that isn’t possible when renting. You can make changes to your home, choose the colours you want to paint your walls, decide where you want to hang your photographs or paintings and decide how you want your garden to look and perhaps get the dog that you had been longing for.

To put it simply, when you are a homeowner you call the shots. As a renter, you are always at the mercy of a landlord and forever susceptible to changes in your living arrangements, such as rent increases.

While renting has numerous benefits in the short term, when it comes to long-term stability and financial security, it is hard to look past home ownership.