That depends on a lot of factors.
Prior to the housing bust that started in 2006 in much of the U.S., conventional wisdom was that owners could expect their homes to appreciate in value over a number of years; they would sell for a profit to put toward a larger home or toward retirement.
Today, sinking home values have owners rethinking prior assumptions about the economic risks and rewards of owning a home.
"The idea of thinking homeownership is going to make you an enormous amount of money when you sell is probably a falsehood," said Christopher Conner, managing partner of North Florida Wealth Advisors. "Homes are not going to be an asset of incredible value like it used to be."
From a pure investment standpoint, owners are probably better off putting more of their money into other assets such as stocks and bonds. Invest the down payment and rent an apartment in Lynchburg instead.
The long-term trend has been annual home appreciation of about 2 percent, but factoring in mortgage payments and maintenance costs can make ownership more of a consumption of money rather than an investment of money.
But since people have to pay to live somewhere, the question is really about when it makes more sense to buy or to rent an apartment in Lynchburg, VA.
In the short term, the costs of renting — including deposits and monthly rents — are less than the costs of a down payment and closing costs of buying.
Thomas McIntosh, president of Prudential Trend Realty, said if you buy a home, you need to remain in that home for at least five years in the current environment.
But Conner cautions that longtime homeowners who plan to downsize could end up paying more in property taxes for a smaller home because of annual caps on increases in homesteaded property taxes.
Number-crunching aside, the decision to buy or rent is more of a psychological question than an investment question.
For information on renting in Lynchburg, VA contact Walden Pond Apartment Homes.