Yeah, people who haven't done the math don't understand the tradeoffs. Buying costs a lot more at the start. You don't get it back until the very end of the process.
Had I not bought my house 13 years ago, I would be paying more in rent than my net housing costs (after tax effects are factored in) are now. Yes, my cost was a little higher initially, but after my first re-fi, that changed. I am reaping the benefits now.
Unless you expect to have flat income your whole life, the reason to buy earlier isn't to save money, it is to be able to covet the property. Mine mine mine. Mine.
No. The main reason is that, when you buy a house, you fix most of your housing costs, while rental rates will continue to increase. With a flat income, you eventually won't be able to live in the same house, if you buy, the point at which you can no longer afford your house will come much later, and when it does, you will very likely have a nice profit on the sale.