Homeownership is not the right choice for everyone. A primary consideration is how long you plan on being in an area. If you are planning on living in an area for less than 5 to 7 years, then it makes sense to rent. When you go to buy you have to pay quite a bit of closing costs. For a typical sale of $150,000 or $200,000, you're looking at somewhere between $3,500 to $5,000 in closing costs. So it doesn't necessarily make sense to buy a house and then within two years try to sell it.
Even if you are planning to stay in one place for a while, renting can still make more sense. For one thing, no matter how you look at it, homeownership carries a significant financial obligation, from the mortgage to the maintenance, insurance and taxes. It's a lot easier to walk away from an apartment that no longer fits your budget than a home that you can no longer afford.
Regardless of financial situation, some people simply prefer the benefits and flexibility of renting. For example, some rental properties offer certain amenities that provide social, business and fitness opportunities for tenants. These might include after-school programs for children, community gardens, concierge services, fitness centers and spa facilities, swimming pools and resident programs.
In addition, many renters enjoy the predictability of their monthly expenses. Rent payments are often the same each month and utilities are similar, if not equal, each month. And landlords are typically responsible for maintenance and repair issues both inside the property (whether it's a rental apartment, condo or house) and in the common areas.
The Bottom Line
Even though it is cheaper to buy than rent in some markets, it's important to note that individual markets can vary greatly. You should always consider the individual market and your own situation and preferences when making the decision to buy or rent.