The question of timing of a purchase of home, in economically turbulent times. would perplex most rational thinking person. The short answer i would give it depends. The largest factor i would suggest that a buyer whether, a first time or an move buyer, ask them "is how long do i plan to stay in the home i purchase?" I believe this is the critical component of comparing the "rent vs buy" dilemma. The short answer in most markets in the past would be a minimum ownership of 24 months. The prudent answer with today's environment would suggest a longer view of ownership ranging more in the 36 to 60 month range to receive the benifits of ownership versus the cost of buying and selling when compared to the lost opportunity of ownership and renting. Below is a graph showing the monthly principal and interest payment of the average sales priced home as compared to the average asking price for a home for rent in Yellowstone county. I hope this would give the reader more insight into recent develops that would tip the balance to purchasing within the parameters i outlined above.  


Howard Sumner (Howard Sumner Real Estate): Real Estate Agent in Billings, MT