I think me and you agree more than disagree. I definitely agree to consider the large transaction cost involved. There are lots of “hidden” costs involved and there are many times where I wished I never bought dealing with issues.
However, compared to renting, financially, it’s performed much much better buying. Your point about if you bought a place and appreciated and decide to sell, you’d need to buy something more expensive to replace it. Problem is, if you’ve been renting the entire time, you would’ve experienced significant increase with your rent. The place I used to rent for $1900/month, it’s about $2600/month in 5 years.
My home that im renting went from $1200 to $1500/month in about 6 years.. They’re very small samples, but if houses appreciate, most likely the rents are increasing as well.
I may be going little off topic now, but at least if you buy, advantage is that you’re locking in fixed monthly cost if you get fixed mortgage. You’ll get increase in taxes and insurance but increase will be gradual. With renting, there could be rent control, but it will still most likely be going up.