The best way to find out when is the best time to buy in your area is to educate yourself with the local market conditions. Enlist the help of a Realtor. Try to choose a reputable one with references and let him/her know that you are in the process of looking and you want to be kept informed of the local market trends, median price, lowest price, when was the last home/condo sold , inventory, average DOM ( days on the market a) before being sold and find out what kind of financing you qualify for. With all of this information on your side you will be better prepared to make a decision. One thing to remember always is that rent only makes sense if you are not paying too much above current market prices since you will not be building equity paying for rent. Calculate how much in rent you are going to spend till you actually buy a place and subtract that from how much, if you were to wait, would cost to purchase a place now. Check the difference and make a decision based on that. Also lately, depending on the area you are looking for prices have gone down to 2004 levels....so in that case refer to market prices from that time period just as another layer of information. Good luck.
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First step is to talk to a reputable lender to find out what price range you'd be qualified for. For most of us the price range of the home we can afford dictates where and how much home we can buy, and that tells us whether we're financially ready to purchase a home we'd be happy living in.
Once you know the price range, choose a Realtor knowledgeable in your market area and explore the homes and neighborhoods available in your price range. Depending upon your situation, you may find there's lot's of good choices available to you, or you may decide you need to wait a bit and improve your down payment/income to afford the right house for you and your family.
Best advice I can give you is work with the most reputable real estate and lending pros you can. They'll save you time and money, and give you a realistic idea of what you can afford.
Happy house hunting!