Of course it's a better value to own, dollar-for-dollar. But then again......would you think that if you had just lost $50,000 of a downpayment due to declining home values? It's all an individual decision. You can pay the same per month...yet one year you are gaining value and equity, the next? you've lost all the money you put into the property.
It's always best to think it through carefully and consult your CPA. Evaluate your lifestyle, finances and needs...then you are in a position to decide what's best for you and your family.
Also, some just prefer to rent over owning. Some would rather let the apt. complex take care of repairs and maintenance issues. Either they don't have the time or just don't want to deal with it. A lot of times it just comes down to preference.
One thing that I haven't seen addressed here is that some people really don't want to own a home! They don't want the responsibility of maintenance, the risk of depreciation, or even being tied down to a property. For those people it is always a better choice to rent and let the land lord take care of all of the details. One call to the land lord takes care of anything that could go wrong.
However, from what you said above it seems to not make sense to say it if preferable to rent for the long term. It does take close to 7 years to break even at flat prices with amortization and realtor costs added in. That does not included any maintenance of lifestyle choices..