I know this is an old argument, but it turns out that for renters, buying a home pays off after three years on average. The link is to today's L.A. Times article. Of course, the higher-priced the area is, the longer the payoff time is. For example, it pays off in Banning after a little over a year, and doesn't pay off in Newport Beach for 14+ years. Interesting data point, no? Given what I know about local real estate, I would imagine that a Hollywood Hills home would pay off at about 10 to 12 years,Valley Village real estate would pay off after about six to eight years, and a Burbank home would pay off in about four to five years. That's my guess, anyway.