If your looking longer term, buying makes more sense because that way you are paying off your home instead of your landlords home. Also, you get the benefit of tax write offs instead of them.
Short term - typically rent. The 100 year average appreciation of homes in America is about 3.5%. So typically, it would take about 3 years appreciation to cover the cost of buying and reselling.
Look at the cost of rent for a home you might be interested in and then figure out what the mortgage payment would be on the same house. Typically, right now, the monthly payments would be less to buy than rent. Also, via creative finance, I can typically move buyers in Emmett into a home purchase for less out of pocket than their security deposit and first months rent!
I would be glad to help you review numbers specific to your needs if you like.
Best of luck!
Owner/Broker Progressive Realty Corporation