Here's a calculator I love for playing with comparisons between renting and buying. Be sure to read the instructions.
Finally, I am a VA borrower. It's a great time to use eligibility, IMO, if you have enough income and buy something less than the $417,000 threshold. Benefits:
1. Low rates. Right now a mortgage should come in below 4% (we just got 3.25% on VA). Even if you roll in your VA funding fee (if you have disability this fee is waived), the APR for us only was 3.46%. this is below inflation rate, which is amazing.
2. VA loans are assumable. This means that 5-10 years down the road when rates are possibly high again, someone will come along and pay a big premium to 'take over your debt' and get the benefit of that low interest rate. This is a significant selling feature.
3. No downpayment. Up to $417,000, no downpayment with VA loans. yes, you have to be able to afford the PITI payments (Principle, Interest, Taxes, Insurance). But at these rates, take the leverage.
We're closing with under $1000 in cash out of pocket. We'll use the savings to pay off higher cost debt, such as student loans.
In addition to a VA loan - which does have some upfront costs, there are also a few areas here in the Portland metro area that qualify for USDA financing with zero down. We would really need more info about where you are looking to live, and whether or not it is realistic to own right now. In addition to taxes and insurance and maintenance, there are also some utility bills you have to factor into your affordability.
Like some of the responses before mine, I would definitely suggest that you get with a good mortgage professional and get some realistic numbers about what you will qualify for. I don't know whether you have factored this in too - property is more expensive here in the Portland area than Eugene, so whatever you're considering might not even be realistic in our market up here
Please let me know if I can assist you in any way.
All the best
Knipe Realty Broker
I have a history of working with students before and after school, I have a good sense of the kinds of properties that could work well. I would love to chat more and help you begin your Portland home search.
P.S. On only owning for 4-5 years, I've always been told that (historically) 3+ has been the turning point on it making sense to buy instead of rent. Certainly if the market to move at anywhere continues close to the clip that it's on, it will make sense, however, nobody has that crystal ball to be absolutely certain, but right now, the bet seems fairly safe.