PHOTO: An aerial view of Nobbys headland and beach in Newcastle. There are two suburbs in the city where typical mortgage repayments are cheaper than rent.

IT would have been unthinkable even a year ago — but falling property prices and still low interest rates have made buying a home cheaper than renting one in a growing number of NSW areas.

The majority of these suburbs are within Newcastle and the Hunter Region, but a 2.3 per cent annual drop in prices has also made buying cheaper than renting in the Sydney suburb of Fairfield.

Analysis of property sales and lending data revealed renting a unit in the suburb 35km southwest of the Sydney CBD was about $130 more expensive each year than paying down a mortgage.

A typical mortgage on an apartment valued at the Fairfield median unit price of $420,000 would cost about $20,669 per year at current lending rates.