Four considerations in a buy versus rent decision
Cost - Generally speaking, renting is cheaper and has lower barriers to entry than buying a comparable home in the same neighborhood.
On the other hand, apartment rents are on the rise, historically low mortgage rates and depressed home prices have made buying more affordable, and appreciation is a possibility, if not a guarantee.
Time line - If you’re planning to move within a few years, you might not want to incur the costs of buying a home. But if you intend to stick around, buying can make more sense.
The decision should be a personal one, and old rules of thumb -- that you should buy if you plan to stay more than five years, for instance -- no longer apply.
Flexibility - Not only could buying a home limit your ability to cut your housing expenses, you may not be able to pursue housing opportunities farther away if you get transferred or lose your job. While the market is now improving, selling a home has been especially difficult in recent years.
Readiness for ownership - Many people enjoy keeping up their homes. Yet home repairs, landscaping and occasional improvements are costly and time-consuming. Many people buy fixer-upper homes that they perceive as good values, only to realize later that they don’t have the time or money to make the upgrades.
—Courtesy MSN Money
Consideration of these factors should bring you closer to making a wise decision regarding ownership versus renting.
-Source: MSN Money