I would rather stay debt free than be beholden to the banks. I am a renter by choice. Others aren’t, thanks to Housing Bubble 2.0
I can’t think of anything else I’d rather not do with money right now than buy a house. And that’s especially true in the frothy Austin market.
I’ve been on the ass end of the housing market so my experience definitely influences my behavior. I know the real truth about the so-called investment of a house. I’m lucky because I could pay to get out.
Add up your ongoing costs, maintenance and upgrades to keep the house marketable and it is not the rosy picture real estate agents and mortgage companies paint when you’re house hunting.
But if you approach it as a home that requires an ongoing, sometimes significant investment of money that you might not get back (but don’t care because you’re trading that money for a home) than you’ll be fine.
Otherwise you should consider renting, being debt free, and not beholden to loans.
From a comment on the article that Om linked to:
When I did have a mortgage I remember when I did the last refi at the credit union. I was feeling down about things and asked the loans officer what she thought I was doing wrong? This was around 1990. She said, “are you kidding? Those people up in the new sub-divisons with the boats, trucks, and trailers in the driveways own almost nothing. They owe on everything and if they miss a months work the banks will come and take it all, one toy at a time.”