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i'd buy the more expensive house. mortgage rates are actually quite low.
you wont regret it. while prices may continue to fall, it's impossible to "call a bottom". A few thousand dollars over the longer term wont make any difference. With your income level, a 200K mortgage payment (assuming you put 20% down and buy a $240K home) is only something like $1500/month. More than manageable on your income. As the market rebounds...and it will....you stand to build equity faster with the larger investment. Remember...the US population just topped 303 million and growing. Demand for housing, as crazy as it seems right at this moment, will increase eventually.
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