Are you better off renting a home?

The housing market was given a huge boost in recent years by lax lending standards that enabled a ton of people to buy houses that they never should have been able to using gimmicky mortgages. The result has been record foreclosures, and lot of people who pursued the American Dream are regretting it. Now they're back to renting and a lot of people witnessing the carnage are wondering: Is homeownership really worth it?

In a column in Parade, Mike Hammer lists 4 "great reasons to rent": renting can save money, homeowners' tax deductions are overstated, there are more options available to renters, and renting gives you flexibility. Hammer writes:

According to popular myth, renters are just throwing their money away. But the reality is that when you buy a home, you're paying for closing fees, mortgage interest, property taxes, private homeowners' insurance and maintenance -- costs that return nothing on your investment.