There is much debate over the question, is now really the time to buy? In Southwest Florida, yes it is. It is definitely a buyer's market. Interest rates and home prices are extremely low. There are short sales, foreclosures and normal sales. There are plenty of homes to choose from in a variety of price ranges.
Another question that comes to mind is, should you rent or should you buy? Some people say you are throwing your money down the drain when you rent. But there are some instances when you have to rent. Some people can never qualify for a mortgage and others are just not meant to be a home owner. Overall it is almost always better to own your home rather than rent. You build equity and you can write off your mortgage interest.
People that lost their homes to a short sale or foreclosure will not be able to buy for another 2-5 years and are forced to rent. A lot of other people are also choosing to rent rather than buy. This is having an enormous effect on economic recovery. What is holding them back? People need to be able to save enough money for a down payment and qualify for a loan. Some people are looking for a new job, a better paying job, or waiting for a promotion or raise.
If you are thinking about buying now, meet with a lender to see if you qualify. Then take that leap while the market is good for buyers. Again, interest rates and home prices are the lowest they have been in years. Now is the time to buy in Southwest Florida.