my two cents is, even with a housing bubble burst, it makes more sense investing in a house over cars. Cars don't have equity. If you're only driving 9,000 miles, eek by on the Saturn while you can with minimal money into it. THen when you need a "new" car, take the time to find a good deal on a well used econobox. At 22, you cannot go wrong buying a house. I think Gary has the right idea with finding a fixer upper in a nice neighborhood--it's like buying stock when it's low--it can only go up from here (unless, of course it crashes, but people need houses, so I don't see how it can be a bad idea to buy a house--although if someone wants to explain the downside--I'd love to hear it. I think you'd need a bad depression for you to lose out on the house deal in the short term--at 22, you're virtually guaranteed to come out on top eventually regardless of what happens in the next 5-10 years.
At any rate, given X, your age, your attitude toward equity--the LAST thing I would do in your case is buy the Yaris. I think that's the worst decision given your options and situation.
If I were you I would buy a more reliable car and wait to buy a house for at least 10+ months. If you look at graphs of the housing market going back 50 or so years the average is about 0.6% increase in value per year. We have a long way to fall yet to get back to that average. I don't know what your "x" amount is or how expensive of a house you want to buy but make sure "x" is enough to help you avoid mortgage insurance.
I'm 27 and haven't bought a house yet, unfortunately I work in a field where I move ever 2 or so years (large scale Construction Management) so I haven't found a place to settle in yet. However if I had a job where I stayed in one area I would bought a house by now. It's never to early to start paying into something that you own.
Three bedrooms and a two baths is a starter home these days..
Keep in mind that a basement garage/workshop is going to be considerably cheaper to heat since it has the warm house on top of it and is going to be cooler in the summer for the opposite reason.
If you have a decent size yard you can always build a garage later..
And be very wary of neighborhood covenants.. Homeowner associations can be an extreme pain in the butt.. They seem to be invariably run by the most uptight anal retentives in the entire neighborhood.
My brother in law had a house in a subdivision with an association and if he didn't cut his large lawn twice a week for about nine months a year he got fined.. They can be unbelievably picky..
The end of cheap energy is going to change a lot of things about where and how we live.. It wouldn't surprise me at all to see a lot of the really distant McMansion subdivisions turn into duplex/triplex type dwellings, rather like the large old Victorian homes did thirty or forty years ago before they became gentrified in the last twenty years.
I have a mother in law suite in the basement and I'm seriously considering renting it out to bring in some extra cash.. Things are tight and likely to get a lot tighter..
Like the old Chinese curse says, may you live in interesting times.
If I were you I would buy a more reliable car and wait to buy a house for at least 10+ months. If you look at graphs of the housing market going back 50 or so years the average is about 0.6% increase in value per year. We have a long way to fall yet to get back to that average.
Excellent point, that's what I was thinking of but didn't put it nearly as well as you did..
The financial situation is dire, Nobel Prize winning economist Joseph Stiglitz has estimated the true cost of the Iraq war at over $3 trillion and it could go considerably higher than that.. That's $10,000 for every man, woman and child in America.