Check out the link below. It is a rent vs. buy calculator from the New York Times. Play around with the numbers and the sliding scales.
If your intention is to purchase a primary residence, then this is a good time to buy. I'm assuming that you have a long term purchase objective. There is a larger supply on the market than we have seen in a long time. Prices have declined. They may continue to decline but from some surveys that I've seen, we are close to the bottom in sales and prices.
Mortgages are not difficult to obtain if your income, assets and credit meet the lending guidelines. These guidelines are based on common sense, similar to those which existed prior sub-prime lending.
Keep in touch.
In short, if you are buying to live in the unit and qualify for a mortgage, there are deals out there. If you are buying strictly as an investment, you must do your due diligence. I suggest speaking with a mortgage professional and have him/her do a rent vs. buy analysis.
You can contact me off line to put you in contact with a savvy real estate professional in the Manhattan market.
Sadly enough a case can be built for both buying at this time and renting at this time...It comes down to the persons access to financial resources and personal preference.
Where will you be able to enjoy the highest quality of life and is it worth the price it will cost you to live there?