My Inlaws bought a house a few years ago, no mortgage just bought it out right.
They don't have the best paying jobs but this is what they did.
Rented all the time, they always put away a "Mortgage" repayment each week into savings, for them this was $560 (from memory)
And seen there rent money as rates, insurance etc etc that they would of been paying if they were in their own home, that's how they seen it.
so they lived as though they owned their own home, but were renting.
After 15 years they were able to just buy.
They didn't start this in their 20's they started doing this when they were 40.
Now this is in no way a solution to everyone's problem.
I the Inlaws only started doing this when they were 40, the kids were older and work for them both was more flexible.
By the time they decided to buy they only needed to buy for the 2 of them so obviously the house they chose was smaller than what a family needs as well, they also bought in a retirement home village/complex where up keeps on the house are lower, they feel well looked after have friends close by etc.
they had $400k saved, plus extra they accumulated on interest in the savings account.
But this is another example of why some choose to rent.
And why not? If you can afford to "Live like your paying for your own home" whilst living in a rental saving for 15 years is much better than buying a house, paying it off for 25 years, instead of paying interest you are gaining interest on your savings and at the end of it all, retirement, you then have the security to buy.
My husband and I will be aiming for something similar when dd is in school and I can go back to full time work, we can't afford to do that right now!! But it's what we aim for.
Personally for us, we rent and try to save as much as possible, even of its only $5 a fortnight we try to put it into savings.
Savings and building it up and up over years and years seems far more productive than buying a home in our eyes. it just doesn't feel "Secure" to buy when we can save and at the end of it all be able to just buy and never worry about a mortgage and the interest they slap you with.
At the moment that's a bit out of sight with our current financial income but that's what we aim for, big savings.
This is why some choose to rent.
We rent because yes, we could afford a mortgage in a few more years, but we couldn't afford all the other costs!
With how the economy is right now at least if things go bad the bank can't re-posses our rental.
For us, we see saving and keep saving until we are 55, saving less now but more when work is flexible, is far for sensible then buying a home we can only just afford.
If something ever happens we can just stop saving for a period if time and not worry about loosing our house.
Some people might not ever be able to do this, but any savings is better than having things on long term loans that could be taken away from you if things go bad.
Like I said, this is not for everyone, but it still a reason people try to rent.
If you can rent and save then that's actually quite sensible.
If you can afford a house but cant save, than its best to by a house.
The only way I see "dead money" is getting mortgages you can't afford to only loose out on in the end, renting and not ever planing to one day save, or having everything you own on loans.
There is nothing "Rich" or "Wealthy" about having every single thing you own on loans.
So many of my friends have $$$ cars far beyond their needs and pay so much back on them, cars loose money, you don't gain money on them.
We have a cheap car, yes we could afford a "Better" car but IMO that money was better off sitting in savings over the bank gaining on our loss.
At the end of the day, owning a home doesn't mean you are "Set for life" it also means the renter next door to you isn't poor and wasting their money, truth is they could be far more better off than you.
This doesn't apply to everyone of course, but it's another view on things.