Is it better to rent or buy? On paper, one is almost always better than the other. Unfortunately the basic numbers don't factor in your individual situation and/or plans for the future.

Here's a good example. Let's say 3 years ago you decided to buy instead of rent because financially it made sense. Today you want to move north 10 miles because of a great new job you accepted. The housing market has dropped, and there is a good chance that you would need to pay to sell your home, if you can at all (unless you made a large down payment).

Suddenly it wasn't necessarily as great of a financial decision. Maybe you saw this potential change coming when you decided to buy. The point I'm trying to make is that while no one can predict the future, there is a big difference between the terms of a lease and mortgage.

If you're not fairly certain you will be in the home for at least 5 years you really need to consider more than just what makes sense financially month to month right now. If you're planning a family, make sure the home is suitable for what you are planning.