Home ownership: Why it makes sense to buy now, even before the bottom

Calling a bottom in any market is as close to impossible as it gets, and experts are divided. Star analyst Meredith Whitney recently said that real estate has much further to fall, but other experts say that the increase in sales even as prices continue to decline suggests that the market is cycling through inventory rapidly and paving the path for a leveling off in housing prices.

But here's an interesting thing: With mortgage rates as low as they are right now, it might be worth buying a home even if prices are going to fall further. Take a look at some numbers I put together based on what will happen if prices continue to fall but interest rates rise. Consider that you are looking at a house that would require you to put down $300,000, but you think it could fall by another $20,000-$40,000 over the next couple years: