10 Reaons You Should Buy a Home

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Date Submitted: 12/12/2010 12:13 PM

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10 reasons you should buy a home now

At the peak of the housing bubble, plenty of people thought a house was the key to riches. Now they're wondering if buying a home even makes sense anymore

By Brett Arends, The Wall Street Journal

You can get a good deal

You can get a house at a bargain price now -- especially if you play hardball. This is a buyer's market. Most of the other buyers have vanished since the tax credits on purchases expired.

We're four to five years into the biggest housing bust in modern U.S. history. And prices have come down a long way -- about 30% from their peak, according to the S&P/Case-Shiller Indices, which track home prices in cities across the country. Yes, it's mixed. New York's prices are down only 20%. Arizona's have been halved.

Will prices fall further? Sure, they could. You probably won't catch the bottom, but it doesn't really matter so much in the long haul.

Mortgages are cheap

1. You can get a 30-year home loan for about 4.3%. What's not to like? These are the lowest rates on record. As recently as two years ago, they were about 6.3%. That drop slashes your monthly repayment by a fifth.

If inflation picks up, you won't see these mortgage rates again. And if we get deflation and rates fall further, you can refinance.

You'll save on taxes

You can deduct mortgage interest from your income taxes. You can deduct your real-estate taxes. And you'll get a tax break on capital gains -- if any -- when you sell.

Sure, you'll need to do your math. You'll get the income tax break only if you itemize your deductions, and you may be better off taking the standard deduction instead. The tax breaks are more valuable the more you earn and the bigger your mortgage. But many people will find that these breaks mean owning costs them less, often a lot less, than renting.

It'll be yours

When you own, you can have the kitchen and bathrooms you want. You can move the walls, build an extension -- zoning permitted -- or paint...