In Northern Virginia, especially inside the beltway places like Falls Church VA, it has typically been cheaper to rent than to buy unless you have a hefty down payment of 20% or more saved up. But now, with a combination of falling values in several condo communities along with historically low interest rates, it is actually comparable to buy vs. to rent in several condo communities with low down payment, FHA financing. And if you do have more than 3.5% to put down, buying will be cheaper than renting in most cases in condos priced around $200,000.
Take for example this Savoy Park condo I have on the market. It is listed at $199,000. If you were to rent it, or a typical 1 bedroom/1bath condo, you would likely pay around $1,300 per month - and that payment has no tax deduction.
If you were to buy it with FHA financing, with only 3.5% down, your PITI payment would only be $1,256. A small savings, then add the monthly condo fee of $267.82 and you end up slightly higher buying vs. renting - but it is pretty close. However, you do get to write off the interest you are paying as a tax deduction and you are a homeowner! You can decorate it the way you like, and if something breaks, you don't have to wait on your landlord to come help you fix it. And if you hold onto it for 5 or more years, you are likely to have built a decent amount of equity in it for when you sell.
Contact me if you would like to see this beautiful condo, or discuss if you should buy or rent in Falls Church or surrounding areas.