Not buying a place at all is attractive for a few reasons. I could likely rent for quite a bit less than my current mortgage, and even less than my theoretically smaller mortgage that I would have buying a new place that's worth less than my current place. Also, the extra cash I'd have after selling this place would be enough to get me completely out of debt, even after hefty capital gains taxes, and I might even have enough money left over to think about investing in a fun way, like publishing a comic book or something. And I wouldn't have to worry about all the house upkeep stuff (not that I worry about it too much right now, but that might eventually bite me in the ass).
The down side of not owning a place is that I'm not building up equity. Of course, with the lower monthly payment and getting rid of the payments for my other debts, I could very well have something like $700 extra per month, which I could invest. Of course, I likely wouldn't get the return that's possible with real estate, but, you know, the real estate market can't keep going up forever, can it? I dunno. I'm not actually a save-for-the-future kind of guy, though. That future Kevin is some other person; let him worry about his own money situation.
There is a certain sense of security owning a place, though. No one can decide to sell it out from under me. Together with that, though, is a lack of flexibility. I'd really like to move some place different now because of my job, and I'm stuck in Everett until I can sell my place, because I can't afford to pay rent on another place while still paying the mortgage on this place.
So, I dunno. I guess I'll have to evaluate things again once I actually sell my house.