The Case-Shiller index is one of the best guages when looking at the trends in home prices. Today the Shiller index shpwed that nationally prices dropped 8.9% in the fourth quarter versus last years Q4. There were only 3 markets that showed flat or rising prices of the top 20 US markets that the index uses to come up with its price analysis. the three cities that showed growth were Portland, Charlotte, and Seattle was flat.
This was the WORST decline in the 20 year history of the Case-Shiller index. this is an excellent tool to use when trying to guage how the housing market is trending. I am sure that many of you have realtors telling you"now is the time to buy" because "prices have never been so low!!!".
To put this in to perspective the last housing bust was in 1990/91. Housing in some areas in California dropped 30% plus in value. This means whats happening now is a worse then 1990. IMO the declines have just begun and its never smart to try and time a bottom. Especially when its one of the biggest financial decisions you will ever make in your life. This trend downward has shown ZERO signs of slowing based on this data.
Until you see a trend of several months where prices have flattened you should find a nice place and rent. Remember, When you buy a house you are still renting except its from a bank. You own nothing until its paid off. So who cares wether you rento from a bank or a landlord.
Put your money that you saved for a house into a CD and wait. It will be well worth your while.