Whether you can afford to buy a home will depend on both a financial assessment with a mortgage broker or lender and the price of a home you'd like to buy. So, we can't really answer those questions here.
As for the differences between owning or renting a home, there are too many to enumerate here. What I can offer are the top 3 differences:
you get to make any personalizations you can afford that's within your county's building codes;
you pay all property taxes and assessments; and
you pay all maintenance costs.
you'd have to ask your landlord for any physical changes to the unit, but
you pay no maintenance, taxes or assessments and
you pay no Realtor commission if you decide to move.
Hope that helps.