"Households must consume housing whether they own or rent. Not even accounting for more favorable tax treatment of owning, homeowners pay debt service to pay down their own principal while households that rent pay down the principal of a landlord plus a rate of return. That's yet another reason owning often does - as American intuit - end up making more financial sense than renting."
Buying a home is one of the biggest financial decisions that you will make in your lifetime. It used to be that one would buy a house as soon as possible. This attitude has changed over the past few years when many homeowners became upside down. However, data shows that owning a home is still a good investment. Housing appreciation since 1975 averaged 4.5 percent a year. Housing is still a good investment, especially if you plan to live in your new home for over 4 or 5 years.
When you rent, you don't have to worry about taxes, insurance and maintenance. When you own, that all becomes your responsibility. Of course you're going to consider your rent payment versus your house payment but with this consideration keep in mind that part of that paymnet is going to interest not principal. Of course, there is little flexibility when you rent, you can't do what you want with the place, the maintenance is done how the landlord chooses, rent can be raised at the end of a lease, and if he decides to sell, you'll be looking for a new home.
When you own, it goes without saying, the home is yours and decisions around the place are yours. You can decorate as you see fit, replace appliances and flooring with what you prefer, add carpet, take carpet out, etc.
In the end, there are mathematical factors to consider, but also emotional factors.
Questions to ask yourself when thinking of buying a home versus renting: