If a real estate agent is telling you (or advertising) that NOW is the perfect time to buy, you may want to run the other way. I will bet you that they were saying the same thing in 2006. And 2007. And 2008. And 2009. And 2010. And they will be saying the same thing in 2012.
Real estate agents who are solely focused on sales techniques, rather than providing customer service to meet your needs, can make any justification to make home buying the only rational action in any market. They will tell you that rates are low, which may be true. They will tell you this is the bottom of the market, which may be true but nearly impossible to quantify. They will tell you the market is rising and you better buy before it is too late (…but they will never stop saying that until the market plummets, at which point they will change their sales pitch to a different line).
So, when is the best time to buy? That all depends on your circumstances. Have you saved up for a down payment? Do you have a solid income? Have you met with a mortgage broker to see what you can afford? And, possibly most important, are you emotionally ready for homeownership? It is a lot of responsibility.
I’m not trying to be Debbie Downer, here, but just to give a reality check. Home ownership is a great thing for building your future and strengthening our communities. But don’t buy just because an agent without your best interest in mind guilts you into thinking you are making a mistake by not buying. Buy a home because it is the right decision for you.