Originally Posted by frog
For me, it's all about assets. Owning gives you an asset. Renting is just a liability.
Renting is an expense, not stictly a liability. You can get out of it if you need to/want to move.
Owning can be an asset, but only if people have actual equity in thier homes. With all the 110% loans, negative amortization loans and the declining prices, many people are upside down on thier homes. In thier case their house is a libility. The asset is not your home, it is your equity, which thanks to bad lending and overuse of HELOC, many homeowners have *none*. Also, if people get a mortgages they can not afford they could end up losing all the funds put into the house and the house- good ol' foreclosure and it is going to be a huge number of people in the coming years. Owning does give the very real expense of interest and larger than renting liabilities if you want to sell but can not.
That said, I think buying is great and we are doing it ourselves but we are doing it with a fixed rate mortgage and a sizable downpayment and with a reasonable cushion for the repairs etc. Before we had those resources, I was very happy with renting. We also are confident we will be there for at least 5-7 years. Many people buy, just to buy, for emotional reasons before they can really afford to buy.