Housing forecast. "In the largest 100 markets in the nation, it’s still cheaper to own than rent, by a whopping 38% on a national basis, says real estate data firm Trulia. Of course, real estate is local and conditions vary widely. Still, the rent-v-buy trade-off isn’t likely to shift until mortgage rates hit about 10.6%, Trulia predicts. Many renters see how much of their paychecks go to housing and know it makes sense to buy." (Forbes)
20% Percent Down Payment. Most lenders require a 20% down payment before granting you a mortgage. If you can't come up with the down payment, they'll charge "private mortgage insurance", to make up the difference.
"PMI rates vary from lender-to-lender, but generally cost 0.05 percent to 1 percent of the total loan amount. At 0.05 percent, you’ll pay $41.50 per month for every $100,000 worth of loan that you carry. If you’re holding an FHA-insured loan, you pay two different mortgage insurance premiums. The upfront premium is 1.75 percent of your loan size, and it will be added to your borrowed amount. You’ll also pay a second premium, which is assessed annually and billed monthly. This second fee, often known as “monthly mortgage insurance,” will cost 1.3 percent annually if you carry a 30-year mortgage and put at least 5 percent down." (Forbes)
Mortgage. Can you afford a higher mortgage? Here's a great calculator that will give you a better idea of how much you can afford to pay for a house and what the monthly payment will be. If your budget is so tight that this will cause you to miss payments, you might not be in a strong enough position to purchase a home right now. You might also decide to buy in a community that has an HOA. These are mandatory dues and the HOA can put a lien on your home if you don't pay the bill.
Maintenance and Repairs. A mortgage isn't the only thing you have to worry about. When owning a home, you are responsible for fixing the HVAC, calling a plumber, installing a new dishwasher, and replacing the roof. As a rule of thumb, you should budget one percent of the home's purchase price annually for repairs and maintenance.
Should you buy now? The answer has more to do with your personal budget and life plans.