I love it when local agents like to play the "I know more about MY market than that outsider . . ." games.
Phil, I'm originally from the Midwest, I invest in commercial and residential real-estate in multiple markets, and I know a lot more about the Chicago metro market than you'd like to give me credit.
A home (whether rented or owned) is NOT an investment by definition, because it's a necessity. (Please examine the link below for more info.) Talk to any financial planner worth his/her salt, and s/he will tell you to invest using any money you have left over after having paid for all of your necessities, and after having made the appropriate contributions to your savings.
You're free to think of a home as an investment as did many of the people who are in over their heads now did, or you can learn from their mistakes. While it's true that homes tend to appreciate in value over time, that annual appreciation isn't guaranteed. Many people today got killed speculating that prices would continue to escalate, and they used their homes like ATMs. Knowledgeable real-estate investors won't purchase any properties based upon speculation; we buy them based on the numbers. There's no such thing as "falling 'in love' with a property"; there's no emotion(s) involved in the decision to purchase or not. It's nothing personal; it's strictly business.
Buyers shopping for homes want to fall in love with them, and they care about things like the schools, quality of life, color of paint on the walls, etc. Investors buy for only one reason: to make money. I hope that you can see that the goals are different.
You'll need to decide for yourself whether it's a wise decision for you to buy a home now. Nevertheless, don't take my word as the gospel. Go attend one of the local REI clubs, and ask some of the investors there what the difference between purchasing a home and an investment property.