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Pros and Cons of Renting vs. Buying

While home ownership provides security, it almost certainly doesn't give you the returns provided by equities. With history as a guide, you can reasonably expect roughly 8% annual gains on your stock portfolio over the long term. House prices, on the other hand, tend to follow the rate of inflation.

That said, home ownership has a signficant tax advantage. Married couples can earn up to $500,000 tax-free when selling a home at a gain. Singles get $250,000. For a breakdown of how to qualify for this generous break, click