I'd say you are right. In our particular case we own with no mortgage and our associated costs of utilities, lawn/landscape care & maintenance, property taxes, insurance, termite policy, security service, HVAC annual maintenance runs approximately $ 9,600 for an 1800 sq. ft. 17 year old house or $ 5.33/sq.ft. That does NOT include repairs/replacement of stuff that breaks. To rent an equivalent property in an equivalent neighborhood would run $ 1600 / month or $19,200 per year ($ 10.66/sq.ft.)<quoted text>
Improvements on a property generally lead to higher resale cost and profit. Which currently, if you don't have more than 250/500k profit on a home sale, there is no income or capital gain tax.
I am certain that it is much cheaper, dollar for dollar per square foot to own than it is to rent.
Even if we had a mortgage payment the costs would even out but you are at least building equity. Biggest drawback is the fact that we can't just pick up and leave. Real estate can be slow to move.