I'll go against the grain and say buy. However, look in the areas your co-workers tend to cringe away from. For example, I work downtown DC, and commute via metro. Federal/military employees get subsidized metro fare, so I ended up buying a house in Capitol Heights MD. Most people cringe away from that area, but I found it to be no different than any other area, with the exception of the odd wandering drunk from the liquor store. Houses out there are cheap for a renovated 3br 2.5 bath like mine. I got mine for 230k, and I rent both back bedrooms out for 700 flat. Covers my mortgage/escrow completely, so I all I am out is utilities. However, to make DC work, you need to both optimize your usage of the metro benefits the government shells out, live close to one, and buy in a transitioning neighborhood. Look at where major developers are buying up land, and buy a renovated house out there. Or, go hard mode, and buy a foreclosed house, fix it with a 203(K) loan, and have instant equity. The only real complaint I have is that this area is a food desert, but several grocers are a 10 minute drive away at most.