Originally Posted by Pennglock
-The quality of finishes in rentals, even the high end ones renting for over $8,000/mo, generally suck.
-Price-to-Rent ratios in most cities are at historic lows, and that's not even taking into consideration the low interest rates available. IMO, it's a buyers' market.
Agree with the first. Hence my comment about being able to pay a premium to get what you want. Around here, the finishes in condo buildings tend to be far nicer then rentals (although there is always the option of renting condos that are being rented out by their owner) and that would be one of the reasons why I will probably own someday.
The problem with the second point is that while it is true that its probably a good buying time for an investor (someone buying homes with an investment eye and not intending to live in them), the biggest determining factor on whether or not you should buy a house is all about your needs and not about the market.
A 25 year old with a high likelihood of job hopping to some other town, meeting the love of their life, or going off to grad school has a good chance of making a commitment that they can't keep. They can't look at it like a regular investment since they have to live in it--if they have to move, they are now forced into selling it. Sure it could have appreciated and the value may be enough to cover all the associated costs of selling and buying a new place but since their hand was forced, they don't have the option of riding out a downturn (or selling before it hit) like they would have with a real investment.
At the same time, when it is time to buy and you know you want to buy...you just do it. Sure interest rates matter a bit, but you are essentially paying market rates. If rates on a mortgage go up, rates that you can earn with your money in other places are also likely to go up...and if rates fall down later you can always refinance. If and when I buy something, I'm not gonna care too much about rates other than making sure that I have all my ducks in a row and a high credit score so that my mortgage is on the low end of whatever the current range is.