With that said, I consider myself an optimistic person and I can tell you that during that time selling real estate that there was not one year that I really did not believe that it was not a "great time to buy". It is really not until you look back at the rise and fall of the real estate market can you see what were good and bad times to buy. We will be able to make that same determination about 2010 two years from now.
What I am telling my clients who ask me that question today is RENT now and sign no longer than a 1 year lease. During the rental period, we can pursue great real estate purchasing opportunities as they present themselves, but with less pressure(better negotiating position). My viewpoint is that home prices will drop more into 2011. There is a massive shadow inventory of foreclosures coupled with underemployed and/or unemployed homeowners who are or will be attempting short sales. With the vast supply of distressed properties yet to be sifted through, the real estate market has a lot of shaking out to do.
I would be happy to share more, but I could go on and on...
Any answer we give here would be pure speculation unless we know a lot about your personal situation. However, a good place to start figuring things out would be on the Freddie Mac "Rent vs. Buy" calculator at the top of the web page linked to below.
Americorp Real Estate
Brokers Associate, e-PRO
However, the market will imporve and when it does, both interest rates and prices will start to rise and you will not be able to afford as much of a property then as you can now.
You should probaly ask a couple of agents to send you listings based on what you want and where you want it to see if anything even looks interesting to you.
My web site has a few lender references if you need and you can search the MLS from my site if you want to look around on your own.
Also I have another blog on top 10 Credit myths. You might find that useful as well.