Hi there! The only circumstances under which it would more beneficial to rent are if you can't afford to buy or will only be somewhere for a short time. As far as "breaking even" it would be largely contingent upon what you pay to rent and what you choose to buy, however, at the end of a rental term you have no property and no equity. If you purchase, as long as you keep the home in good repair, you will anticipate selling hopefully for a profit (even if it's just that of inflation) or at least at what you paid.
Here in Vermont, we are not affected by the drastic drops in property values many of the other states are facing. Thankfully, Vermont consistently has the lowest foreclosure rates in the country, and has not seen a lot of sub-prime lending. It sounds like you have a substancial down payment to offset what you'd need to borrow, which will help you in gaining a loan. The other big factor these days is your credit rating, which can greatly affect the type of loan and interest rate you will qualify for. A good first step is speaking to a lender to find out what price range you should shop in to meet your financial goals and stay within your comfort zone. Please feel free to email or call for further information! I can gladly pass along the names of some great local lenders as well.