While we all know the Real Estate market has been hit hard by the economy and the whole country is eager for better times, with all do respect to "Bad Time To Buy", the facts do not support the suggestion to rent (especially in the Chattanooga Market). As we all know, ALL REAL ESTATE IS LOCAL. While some areas of the country may still be depressed, others (like Chattanooga) are doing just fine. This market (Chattanooga) hit bottom last November. Volume and prices have been edging up since then and smart buyers are locking in on the low prices and great mortgage rates while they are still low.
Let's look at some facts SPECIFIC TO THE CHATTANOOGA MARKET:
* The sales volume of homes sold in 2008 was down 18% BUT the median price of the homes sold were down LESS THEN 1%. Not bad when surrounded by a national market that did much worse.
* The prices of homes over the past 5 years in this market are UP 10% (see below for details).
* The median price of a home in Chattanooga in 2004 was $144,196. In 2008 that price was $159,995. So why "Bad Time To Buy" in Chicago was paying rent, the folks in Chattanooga gained almost $16,000 in equity in the value of their home.
* The ONLY year we saw any decline was between 2007 & 2008 and current sales records show we bottomed out in November of 2008 and are now edging back up.
You might want to check out this web site which clearly spells out the advantages of buying versing renting:http://righttimerightmarket.com/index.php?/rentown.
Conclusion: I don't know the Chicago market. Maybe it is best to rent there, but if you are planning to live in the Chattanooga area, it is clearly best to buy.