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“The biggest disadvantage to buying a home would be the necessity to sell it at the wrong time,” Mr. Rosenthal said. “Even if values go down, buying is often the better deal because of the tax savings of owning. This is especially true when rents are rising. Frankly, if you’re going to live in a home rather than a tent when you reach retirement age, it’s always better to buy because you can model your cash flow based on a fixed mortgage payment.”

Mr. Goldstein said buyers should consider more than just the financial benefits of buying a home, particularly if they are concerned about a potential decline in value. He said even though the D.C. area has been more resilient than most, housing values are always tied to employment and no one can be 100 percent certain that home prices will continue to rise.

“If you can afford your mortgage payments, love your house and love your community, you shouldn’t be that concerned about its value over the next five to 10 years,” Mr. Goldstein said. “The value won’t have an impact if you aren’t planning to move.”

Mr. Goldstein said comparing the cost of renting and the cost of owning should always include not only the mortgage principal and interest but also property taxes, homeowners insurance and any homeowners association or condominium fees.

“You also need to budget for home maintenance and repairs, which renters do not generally have to pay for,” he said. “If you can barely afford to buy a place, this may not be the time to do it. You may want to wait until you have accumulated more savings or have a higher income.”

On the other hand, Mr. Goldstein pointed out, renters have to face the possibility of rent increases each year, depending on the lease.

“The biggest disadvantage of renting besides rent increases is that if you love your home and your community and your kids are happy in their local school, you may have to move anyway because your landlord could decide to sell the place or move back into the home,” Mr. Goldstein said. “You’re not guaranteed being there as long as you want to be unless you own a place.”