Is Now The Time To Buy?
That is a hard question to answer and the answer will be different for everyone. It depends on your current situation. An important factor is how long to you plan to live in the area. Another thing to consider is whether you are making enough money to comfortably pay a mortgage, homeowners insurance, homeowners association fees (HOA fees), and taxes. Housing costs should be less than 28% of gross income and total debt less than 36% of gross income.
Some of the Benefits of Home ownership are the Mortgage deduction, property tax deduction and of course the equity that builds up over time. Oh, and nobody can tell you you can't have a dog!