Conclusion: So many factors are important to deciding whether to rent or buy. It is not a “hard and fast” rule or conclusions.
The most important factors in your decision are probably:
Your Job Security
How long you are going to Stay in the Home
Your Goals in Life
I was offered $8k incentive by the government to take the plunge, but without that incentive – it never would have happened honestly.
If owning a home would put you into living paycheck to paycheck – Avoid a home. One Disaster is going to derail your life financially and emotionally.
Your Job Security:
If you think your job is not secure and you do not have the means to reproduce your job locally – It would probably be best to rent
How Long are you going to Stay in your Home:
If the answer is less than 5-years it is most likely better to avoid a home without more financial incentives (like a government or local credit).
Your Goals in Life:
If you have a family and you want your kids to grow up in a home and not an apartment – Review the previous three factors – and if everything is okay – Consider a home. Do not view your home as a financial investment.
Do I regret my home?
No. I would say however that I feel that the $8,000 I received made it possible. If I did not receive that money, I might have regretted it. I feel I could get out of my home – walk away with a decent size chunk of realized equity without too much trouble, except the hassle of possibly dealing with a realtor.
Could the housing market go down more?
Absolutely. My views are that it will be relatively stagnate for the next 3 years (complete speculation) then BELOW INFLATION growth for the following 3 years. Overall I doubt you are going to make much on appreciation in the next 5-6 years. I also think its possible there could be a slight downward for those 5-6 years (again, complete speculation) but I do not see another major adjustment (for example –20%).
Final Comment: My house is a relatively cheap house in the big picture – People who buy houses in other regions of the US who have a median cost 500% larger than mine – I would probably advise to REALLY review my factors for owning above. For Example, if you have an income of $100k combined and you buy a $500,000 house – the sheer cost of that home is most likely going to make you feel trapped, and if the market does go down slightly – you are going to feel it. If you are looking at those houses – you must have a more optimistic view of the housing market in the near future – or you are completely ignorant.
If you do decide to buy a home. Make sure you call every local government agency and ask if there are any incentive programs for buying. Cities often have programs that give you buyers assistance or even cash to buy or build in their cities. It is worth checking – it can be thousands of dollars.
The debate of Renting versus Buying continues on and will never be over.