Choosing Whether to Rent or Buy
Those that are planning on being in an area for less than 5 years typically are ideal renter candidates & aren't the best candidates for buying because of the fees involved in selling being a much higher starting point than buying (though there are exceptions). For those planning on living in an area for more than 5 years, especially for much longer periods of time, in Hampton Roads buying should be considered. "Two US Census Bureau researchers have determined that the biggest determinants of household wealth are owning a home and having a retirement account." The net worth gap between renters and homeowners is staggering, with estimates often between 40 times greater and 80 times greater total net worth of homeowners vs renters.
Often the choice about whether to rent or buy is cultural. If your parents owned, you're more likely to own, and if they rented, you're more likely to rent. There are also many misperceptions about owning and renting from both sides. It's important to weigh the options and choose which is best for you based on accurate information.
Be sure to use a calculator as well such as the one I list on my Rent or Buy Calculator page.
If renting is currently your best option, see my page for it here.
Image courtesy Virginia Realtors from Census Bureau Data from 2022, with cost burdened defined as those paying >30% of their income on housing (rent or mortgage payments).