Your mortgage interest and property taxes are deductible from your federal taxes. There has been chatter in congress about eliminating mortgage interest as a deduction, but this is a very sensitive topic and it's highly unlikely in the current political and economic climate that this will become law. This tax savings is one of the main motivators for people to buy homes. Many prospective home buyers look at this tax savings when deciding how much of a mortgage payment they can afford.
Let's say for example you buy a home and your mortgage is $300,000 over 30 years at a 4.75%. Annually for the first few years you will pay about $14,000 in mortgage interest. If your tax rate is 15%, you will gain a tax credit of about $2000. The same goes for your property tax deduction. This is very generalized and requires a much deeper explanation, but the point is that the tax savings is very real money. And if you are paying less in income tax, you can in theory apply that savings to your mortgage payment and afford a higher mortgage then you could in rent. I suggest you talk to your real estate sales person, mortgage broker, and accountant for more detail about how it would effect your exact situation.
Absolutely contact an accountant and review your situation. You can also check out the IRS website. If you need an accountant referral, I use Tax On Time in Rutherford NJ.
Best of luck!