If you're renting, you're throwing your money away, right? Well, if you're paying mortgage interest to the bank, that's throwing money away too. Which costs less over the long term?
I pay $1200 per month in rent, including my parking space. That rent includes a number of items that would come out of my own pocket if I owned a home, such as property tax, repairs, maintenance, and some utilities. All told, I get about $500 in value every month included in my rent. That leaves $700 that is truly "thrown away" just like mortgage interest.
How large a mortgage would cost $700 per month in interest? Today's variable-rate mortgages are going for about 4.6% per year. At that rate, a mortgage of $182k would have interest charges of $700 per month. That means if I could stop renting and move into a house with a mortgage of $182k or less, I would save money every month.
Houses in my area don't sell for $182k. They sell for more like $482k, meaning I would need a $300k downpayment. With that large a downpayment, I'd need to look carefully at the opportunity cost of moving $300k worth of assets into a single piece of real estate. $300k in the stock market would earn about half the Canadian median household income every year, so that's a pretty high opportunity cost.
What if I get a larger mortgage instead? If I get a $300k mortgage instead of $182k, that would cost an extra $452 per month. I'd have to justify that extra cost either using the appreciation in the value of the property I buy, or else using non-financial arguments (e.g. I just really want to own a house). Since I don't particularly want to own a house, that leaves me with the appreciation argument.
So the question I ask myself is: do I want to borrow several times my gross salary to bet my entire net worth on a single real-estate investment? Given the current climate of the real estate market, I'm pretty happy with my current diversified portfolio, thank you very much.