The rent on our apartment has risen for the fourth year in a row. Is this still a good time to buy a home? Yes, now is the best time to buy because homes will never cost less than they do right now, at least within the next decade or two. Home prices fell by up to 30 percent since their 2006 peak. Though they are rising by a few percentage points a year now, homes are still a big bargain. Apartment rentals are not. Nationwide, rents rose by an average of 4.6 percent this year after rising by 4.1 percent in 2011. But that's certainly not the end of rent increases. The National Association of Realtors predicts that apartment rent will continue to rise by 4 percent or more, at least in 2014 and 2015, and maybe for years after that. In California, 8 percent increases are common. Nationwide, one cause of lease and rent increases is the shortage in rentals and the very limited number of apartment units under construction, according to MPF Research. Add to that, household formations are rising and will continue to grow slightly faster next year. And with a stronger economy, more people are moving away from shared homes and looking for an apartment of their own. Landlords say rent increases are necessary because of their rising expenses. The pendulum, however has definitely swung back in their favor, say economists at market researcher Reis.com, quoted in The Wall Street Journal. The rising economy and high apartment rents are prompting people to make the wise move to home ownership. Many say they have no problem paying their rent; they just want to get their money's worth, just as they do when they shop at a store. If you have a stable job and savings for a down payment go ahead and buy a home. Financial wisdom is just one of the benefits of having your own place.