If you are an investor, buy for cash flow, not "appreciation" or flipping. And, consider that rents CAN go down. Could you handle negative cash flow?
If you are looking for a home, make sure you can afford it and will be able to continue to afford it. Do not count on appreciation. Do not use it as a piggy bank to raid equity. Do not get an ARM. If you cannot get what you need at a good price and good terms, stay renting. And do not pop out litters of kids until you can actually afford them and a house.