Thus far I have never seen the point of buying an apartment as a sound financial decision. But I'm starting to wonder whether at some point it will start to make sense.
I'm in my early 30s and I have about $45k in savings, and $20k in student and car loan debt. I make about $75k before taxes. I have always rented. I live in Portland, OR, and my current rent is $1,300/month. I could probably buy something equivalent (similar neighborhood, similar space) for $200k – $250k. These properties would generally have an HOA fee of $300 – $400 per month and also a property tax.
At this point, buying would mean putting almost all my current and future savings into this property. I doubt that makes sense. Zillow real estate growth forecast for Portland for 2020 is -2%. I plugged all the numbers in this NYT buy vs rent tool. It's saying that buying costs more than renting over the next 5 years.
I was also wondering if buying a house with an unfinished basement for $400k – $450k, and finishing and renting out the basement, and living in the main floor could help reduce my housing costs. I just don't feel confident enough to do that given the real estate market conditions, and potentially high renovation costs.
Should I follow the 3X salary rule for apartment/house max price?
I feel like I don't even know how to start thinking about these things. Advice would be most welcome.