I am a real estate broker and I will attempt to answer this objectively in my area of expertise; I will leave the financing part of your question to the lenders.
This is an age old question and many factors can lead you in one direction or another. So I would evaluate how long you think you may want to live in the area you currently reside. If you are a person who relocates every few tears, it may make sense to rent versus buy.
Sometimes renting may be cheaper than the total costs associated with home ownership such as property taxes, certain maintenance and repair costs. Buying a home could require a significant down payment (3.5% - 20% of the purchase price) that you would not need with renting.
There are transaction costs associated with buying and selling real estate. Buying a home could cost you 6% - 8% of the purchase price in down payment and closing costs and another 6% - 10% when it is time to sell. Also real estate is highly il-liquid: It typically takes 45-120 days to sell a property in a normal market. Any real estate professional can provide you data on how long the average home sells in a particular area.
Now I have made money buying and selling real estate. It can make sense for some people in some areas but it not a surefire guaranteed investment. You definitely want to weigh all options and understand what type of lifestyle you desire and what type of flexibility you want before you make the step either way.
If you have further questions, or wish to discuss this further, feel free to reach me at (202) 251-7056 or email at email@example.com