There are plenty of arguments favoring both sides of the rent versus buy argument. Probably the main reason to buy a home is to create personal wealth. After all, for most Americans, it's the most expensive item we'll ever acquire, and typically it increases rather than decreases in value.
What are the downsides to homeownership? Well, as we learned during the recent meltdown in the housing market, what goes up can very well come down, and with very bad effects.
Buying a house also limits a person's or family's mobility. As homeownership rises, unemployment rates tend to begin moving higher within five years, at least partly due to homeowners who are unwilling to sell up and move.
Then there are the other costs of homeownership: property taxes, homeowners insurance and maintenance, to name the most obvious. A renter does not have to pay for a new roof or a new furnace while a homeowner does. And these things aren't cheap.
Excerpts – Yahoo! Finance