Re: Buy my first house?
Here's my experience, for what it's worth: I bought my first house in 2002 when I was a brand new (26 year old) lawyer. It was the first and only house I had looked at in the neighborhood, and in fact it was the only house I had looked at in its price range. So in a lot of ways, it was not very prudent of me to pounce on that house.
When I bought, I only had 5% to put toward a down payment. But I had a relatively high income, and I got a roommate to live with me and pay rent for several months.
I'm glad I bought it, because appreciation in the neighborhood has been some of the hottest in the state. I paid about $170K for the house in December of 2002, and sold 3.5 years later for $260K, having put about $10K worth of work into it in the meantime. And on top of it all, I really loved the house. Last year I used the proceeds from the old house to pay a 20% downpayment on a bigger house on a nicer street in the same cool neighborhood.
I guess the moral of my story is, it may actually make sense for you to buy the place if you totally love it and can afford it. Also, it helps to be able to predict the future and know that real estate values will continue to rise there.