i had a conversation with a buddy of mine yesterday about saving . . . he asked me what i thought my savings rate was and i said, it probably varies between 30% and 50%, but what i didn't take into account was home equity. every month a good portion of my take home goes toward paying on my mortgage, and while it is technically not the same as saving, it is going toward an asset that i could convert to cash at some point. not only that, it is probably earning 'interest' in the form of appreciation.
you can make a good argument on the benefits of renting versus buying. there are a lot of nice things about renting -- you get a good deal of flexibility, you don't have to put a lot down, and, if you rent a place cheap enough, you can really put your money where you can do better than in your home. on the other hand, if you are buying, at the end of it all, you can own your home and/or take some equity out along the way. you get some tax benefits from owning and if your mortgage is around what it would cost to rent, you're really using your home as a great vehicle for saving (it's an asset versus liability thing, if i remember from accounting).
look, i'm not saying one is better than the other, but for me, it's the way to go.