I've been thinking about this recently. My annual income is a little over $100,000 and I live in NYC. I have some student loans, with $30,000 (base) all in gold at the moment -- 60k total in gold on margin, bought at well beneath the current market price. I was thinking about buying a low end 1 bed/1bath condo or co-op out of range of the city with a longer rail commute for around $85,000. I figure I could pay a place like this off very quickly. Now, everyone is avoiding real estate; however, if I aggressively pay off a 30 year fixed loan on a place within 3-5 years. My thinking is: An $85k loss is no big deal in the long run of my life, and the rents in the market (far out from NYC) seem like they'd be fairly close to covering the actual mortgage. So unless there was a huge population shift, the value of the property wouldn't fall too much beneath rent at this end of the market. I'm paying around $1500/month in rent and my building is crap, has rats, roaches, bad internet connection and this is still a "good deal" by NYC standards. I've about had it with NYC landlords. They're all crooks. Thoughts? Has anyone else looked at the very low end of the market? One more note: I had a $400,000 condo in LA that I sold a few years back. I basically lived there rent free, so this is not my first home. That unit that I sold dropped a full $50,000 on the open market after I sold it. I am worried about buying again, but I feel as if risk in the sub $150,000 market isn't all that much -- especially if I have intentions of living in the area for quite some time.