Is It Worth It to Buy a Home?

(FOX19) - Home ownership is on a steady decline, the lowest in a decade according to the Census Department. The ownership rate dropped to 66.5 percent in the fourth quarter. The Cincinnati Board of Realtors does not calculate exact local home ownership but says it is roughly the same as the national percentage.

As home ownership decreases, the affordability of homes is increasing. The National Association of Realtors says housing affordability reached a record in December since 1970 when the association started keeping data on housing prices.

Locally the average home price is down 13 percent since 2008. The Cincinnati Board of Realtors says the average home price from Jan.-March of 2011 is $142,143, down more than $20,000 from $163,950 in 2008.

The uncertainty of home values and the responsibility of a home is exactly why 63-year-old Karol King is a long term renter. King has been renting for nearly 20 years and currently lives in Garfield Tower Apartment in downtown Cincinnati.

"I ultimately made the best choice," says King.

Single and living along King pays about $750 a month in rent and utilities, a cost she could not find buying a home.

"I've been able to invest my money, given the market, who knows for sure but I still think I'm ahead and I have the lifestyle that I love which is downtown," says King.

Looking for a different lifestyle are the Kaufenbergs. Sean, 30, his wife Amanda, 28 and their two kids, Spencer, 3 and Annika, 1 are outgrowing their rental home and often spend time at Amanda's parent house for extra space.

"One of the pitfalls as a mother just didn't have anywhere for them to go to be safe," says Amanda Kaufenberg.

Amanda and Sean are now packing up and moving to their first home in Delhi Township.

"I think it is worth it to buy a home because in the long run you are putting money into something that is yours," says Sean Kaufenberg.

The Kaufenberg's realtor Anne Lade with Real Living Realty says owning a home is a long term commitment, something many renters just do no want.

"Now you have to have savings, you have to have a down payment, you cannot have a whirlwind of debt, you cannot have bad credit scores and get a home loan," says Lade.

Lade says it will take about five to seven years for the entire real estate market to turn around as people looking to buy a home will need to wait even longer to save money and get approved for a mortgage.

"America has a buy now pay later mentality and we have to be re-programmed. This tightening of the belt from the lending industry is really going to help create a more fiscally responsible homeowner and a much more stable housing market, " says Lade.

A housing market that has the Kaufenbergs happy to be first time homeowners.

"Something I've always looked forward to is making it my own. For me it's the kids each having their own place," says Amanda Kaufenberg.

But for King the risk and responsibility is not worth the reward.

"I have several friends that are trying to buy another home, sell their other home and maybe they don't mind the hassle but for me it would not work. I just feel happy and carefree and I love that," says King.

Copyright 2011 FOX19. All Rights Reserved.