Ha. Here's a pretty ramped up case from our new BFF Ali Velshi to buy a house right now. NOW! Does he have his house on the market? Basically his point is you'll get a "great deal" because prices are pretty much at the bottom coupled with low interest rates.
There have always been lots of reasons for buying, owning, renting, or living in your parents basement...you know. But now those decisions are compounded now by the end of real estate as a hobby, the job market and fear of further slides in pricing. It's back to real estate as "where you live". Mr. Velshi here makes a good, if not well played and obvious distinction of buying a home now as an investment versus a home to live in. He thinks in some cases though...it still can be both. I agree depending on the type of home and location in Chicago.
My business partner Bob and I have been asking clients in our Chicago markets of Lincoln Park, Lincoln Square, Wicker Park, Lake View and Northcenter to consider buying a single family home or multi-unit. We think buying these properties well under median prices for the area (and beat up) will prove to be nice primary residences and even good "investments" with a little work. Those with less fear of the future and a need for a home now can do well financially on this type of buy (myself included).
Some of us are just not in a position to consider renting. We have families and/or don't want to be at the mercy of absentee landlords and bad tenant choices. We don't want to move if the landlord of our rental changes gears (see Rahm Emanuel's renter). Some of us want to live in certain buildings or locations where buying is a better choice than rental options for our lifestyles. Some of us want to customize homes.
Whatever the reason, the best position you can be in is this: Have a need and a want to own a home... and a couple bucks. With this scenario in many neighborhoods of Chicago, you can probably have a home you like and possibly get a return when you sell too if you're willing to do (or hire someone to do) some work.