Personally, I bet on the U.S and particularly Colorado.
I appreciate your frustration with sorting out what is best for an individual going forward, Sussexsi. You should speak with someone in New York because the rent-versus-own picture is different from my state, Colorado.
My advice has consistently favored home ownership. I can understand that you need to take the long term view. The good news is this may be one of the best times in history to make a home purchase.
Job stability is certainly a concern. However, are you going to make a judgment on any of these things you mention based on the last three tumultuous years? There were 70 years of growth with robust growth coming toward the end of the last century before those three awful years.
Some look on this as a time of great opportunities. I think it is.
While it is difficult to say that all homeowners will emerge unscathed by the current crisis, the longer trends favor home ownership. In fact, some are counting on a swing to the upside in real estate. You might not be aware of this, but many sellers who need to sell are postponing their decision until the economy gains more momentum and the real estate market begins rising. They may not wait that long - who can say? Some of the more optimistic analysts believe their opportunity could come as early as 2012. But, I strongly disagree with anyone who would make a generalization that a home purchase is not a great investment. You have to look at the question regionally, and then locally. In some states, there will be a long and gradual recovery. Others are seeing signs of recovery now.
There is certainly opportunity in real estate. I would urge you to speak to a Realtor in your area.
People who become home buyers now can take advantage of historically low interest rates. If you act in the next few months, you can avoid some of the upwardly revised fees that will come from FHA and others.
Why now? When rents climb higher - and they will - you'll be looking at competing with other renters who want to buy.
The people who found themselves in the position of paying on underwater mortgages are the few. In overheated markets like California and Florida, you have people who were chased into the market by fast rising prices. Now, many are simply walking away. The lesson that should be taken away from that experience is to not panic buy. The markets are stable or stabilizing. This is when you should lock in a low interest rate and take advantage of your ability to borrow. BTW: The window for borrowing without having to come up with a 20 percent downpayment might be closing. Down payments have come under scrutiny. You might have to be a renter longer under some change that is being contemplated.
As for moving abroad, you have to investigate on your own. I like it here. Different parts of the nation offer better opportunities than others. If you're in the petroleum industry, there are many places that are better than New York. In a few years, my part of the state (Colorado) will have a massive Conoco-Phillips research facility. Northern Colorado will soon have a new NASA facility that will promote industry growth and hire thousands. Scientists here will be able to book flights on space shuttles. We're excited about the future here.
PML of Longmont, CO
Bottom line, do the old "pro's and con's" and figure out what fits your current circumstances best and try to look forward 3 years, 5 years, 10 years and make your decision based on realistic goals and expectations.
I can tell you this though... I've met many people in the later stages of life that regret not buying more real estate. I don't recall ever meeting anyone that is glad they never bought real estate in their lifetime.
I think the answer to that question has to be answered on a personal level as everyone is different. There may be reasons that you don't want to own and if there are then you shouldn't and there's nothing wrong with that. From a financial perspective, which your original question was framed, I think that it really comes down to a simple question. You're going to have to pay somebody for the roof over your head. If your a purchaser you might have something to show for it after decades, not to mention the enjoyment of creating your own little sanctuary. Renting is not going to give you either one of those.
Regards and best of luck.
Shelter, regardless of whether you rent or own, may cost decades of wages and hardship. So may food, entertainment, travel, life.
On the other hand, having fulfilling and rewarding work for decades, taking the money to create the living environment of your choice, purchasing the entertainments of your choice, developing relationships with positive-minded people, kind of makes life worth living.
All the best,
You receive annual tax deductions owning a home confer with CPA
You don't have rent increase, entire point of owning a home you pay it off in your golden years you live "mortgage / rent free" than paying for monthly through your entire life
Mortgage you will have a fixed rate for years...vs. rent will increase
Lynn911 Dallas Realtor & Consultant, Loan Officer, Credit Repair Advisor
The Michael Group - Dallas Business Journal Top Ranked Realtors
You have to decide if it is worthwhile for you!
With prices bottomed - or close to bottoming - the time is right for a longer term investment.
Serving Maryland, D.C. and Northern Virginia