The crisis in the housing market provides an opportunity for consumers looking to snap up a bargain home. But the economy is still in dangerous territory, so many consumers may not have the financial security needed to buy a home.Home ownership has long been viewed as an integral part of the American dream. After all, the equity you gain in your home can provide a strong platform to further your financial goals. However, the heady days of home values doubling in 10 years are gone. In fact, median home prices nationwide are down 6.3% from last year, according to recent data from the National Association of Realtors, and more than 20% in parts of Michigan, California and Florida. Gone, too, is the assumption that if you can afford a home, it must be a good investment. In order to determine if it's the right time to buy, you must weigh a number of factors. Your financial outlook for homeownership rests on the break-even point -- how long must you live in a home for the equity gains to outweigh the higher costs of home ownership.