Well to answer your question I would say it depends. For the first time in anyone's memory the prices are at an extreme low compared to the value even a year ago and the interest rate is also at an extreme low. In the past when home prices fell the interest rate rose making it somewhat of a wash. Right now Buyer's have it made because the home prices are low and the interest rate is low and in most circumstances it ends up being cheaper to buy than to rent. In the Riverside County area we have seen such dramatic drops in prices with a lot of areas seeing a 50% or more drop in price.
Now things to consider when looking at Rent vs. Own is when you rent you are paying off someone else's asset and there are restrictions as to what you as a renter can do. Ever try and paint a room or ask for new carpet because the previous renters trashed it? Although when you rent if something breaks the homeowner has to repair it. When you own you can do whatever you want inside your home, that lovely black paint your teenager wants you to paint their room, you can do that =)... You make your payment you pay off your home not someone else's, you really want that built in bar-b-que island you can put it in your yard and enjoy it and not leave it for some other renter to enjoy. If something breaks in your home though you have the full responsibility to repair it, although this is were a Home Warranty helps cushion that expense.
So to answer your question is it better to Rent or Buy this is my answer. Buy if you find that home of your dreams in the price that you are comfortable with and if you see yourself in that home for 5-10 years you will always win owning. If you are still not seeing your dream home in the price you want to pay then you can take the risk that the home prices will continue to fall and that the interest rate continues to stay low. That is somewhat more of a gamble because a number of outside factors play into that whole formula.
If you are interested in looking for that dream home in a price range that makes since to you please call me and I would love to show you some awesome homes. Good Luck and I look forward to hearing some of the other responses to your question.... more