Ask yourself the following questions. Do I plan to live in this city/town or county for a long period of time? Meaning 5-10 years from now? Will I need to move and sell my new home within the next 1-4 years?
Your finance friends are telling you to buy, because of two reason. The first, money is so cheap right now. Money is cheap, yep I said it. To borrow money these days for the purchase of a home has become ridiculously cheap these days. With good credit and a 20% down-payment you can get a rate as low as 4.5% (not every time or everywhere) . The second reason, is the First time buyers tax credit. ($8,000). The tax credit has ended, sorry you had to have a purchase contract dated 4/30/10 and close by 6/30/10. However, rates are still low. Lastly, if you haven't watch the news in the last 2 years, this is the worst housing down market in a very long time. This is good for buyers not sellers.
If you plan to live there for more than five years, you may want to buy. This will allow you to possibly build some equity, take some of the tax benefits. On the flip side, get ready to maintain the property yourself, or pay someone to do it. If you do buy, get a fixed rate (30YR), rates will go up in 6 months. if you don't you will be sorry.
last but not least, do not allow any real-estate agents to tell you what to do. Make your own decisions, read as many books on how to purchase your first home, before speaking to ANY real-estate professional broker/mortgage loan/etc. you may do business with in the future.
I could go on and on about the different things you should do; however it will be best if you read some books over the next two weeks. This will help you answer your question.