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When you can AFFORD it!
I just purchased my first home at 24. It made sense when the cost of rent equaled the monthly obligation of owning a home. I know I am staying in the area for 5 or more years so I am happy with the risk. I also have the possibility of renting this home out when I eventually out grow it.
It makes sense to own your home if you like to grow food and need a yard.
Renting a cheap room in my 20s and early 30s was easy, but as I get older, the weirder it would become. Picture a man in his 50s living like a 25yo – yeah, a little cringe-worthy. Hence, buying a home seems to make more sense as you age. Once you become quite old, renting an apartment could be wise so that you monetize your home equity and don’t leave a house to your kids/heirs.
For a younger person from a financial perspective, once someone marries and has kids, buying a home makes sense since you’ll have potentially two incomes to cover PITI. You also have the consumption aspect of homeownership – the enjoyment of having your own house and making memories in it.
It’s always wise to try to stay in a house for at least seven years or so to avoid racking up transaction costs.
For me, I’ll continue to rent a room on the cheap for a while. If/when that special gal comes along later in my 30s or 40s, then I might look to buy a house.
When I became an adult and started considering home ownership, way back in the 80’s, the rule of thumb was you should live in the home for at least 7 years to make if worth while. Other indications are you have a steady job/career with good prospects, you are able to save for a deposit and settlement costs, you are interested in home ownership and it’s inherent responsibilities, and you can afford the mortgage payments within about 25% of your income.