~Ask the expert:
We're wondering if we should buy a home now or pay rent for another year or two. What do you think?
The decision is different for every prospective home buyer.
Nationwide, statistics show that owning a home costs less than renting. That's because rents are already high, and they rise with each passing year.
If you continue to rent, you won't have to spend your savings on a down payment, but you'll end up paying more for your living quarters in the long run and have nothing to show for it.
It's also true that home prices will continue to rise, but that's really not a bad thing. It means that the home you buy now will be worth more in future years.
According to the Case-Shiller & Poor's index of 20 cities, a survey taken a few months ago showed that home prices had risen 12.8 percent over the previous year. That means people who bought a home for $200,000 would now own a place worth $225,600. All 20 cities posted gains in home values.
Home values continue to go up, probably not as much as 12.8 percent, but even at lower percentages, a home purchased today will be worth a great deal more in years to come.
"Home value appreciation is better when it's boring," according to Stan Humphries, a Zillow economist who now says. "It's good to see the price of home appreciation moderate, allowing the market to get back into a sustainable balance and not topple over." Cities like Las Vegas had a one-year gain of 29.2 percent last year, followed by San Francisco at 25.4 percent, increases that are not sustainable.
What do I think? If you have the money for a down payment, and a little more to make changes or updates in your new place, as most people do, I think buying a home now is a good move.