Home prices are expected to appreciate slower than they have in the past, so the direction of your career—and the location you think you'll ultimately end up—are important factors in deciding whether to buy. "We've seen a lot of people struggling with mobility concerns around careers right now," Nelson says. "You really want to know what your career path and trajectory is going to look like for the next five, seven, 10 years, and if you're feeling like you need to be able to move around the country for work, then buying now is not the right idea."
While the housing market might look gloomy 10,000 feet up, experts say the financial advantages of home ownership still remain. "If you're going to pay to live in something every month, why not own it?" Helfant-Browning says. "By getting a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage, 10 years from now when the rents in the community are usually going to be substantially higher, the only thing that will change for you is your home owner's insurance and your real estate tax."