Don't know about your particular area, but definately buy. Not only do you get to write all mortgage interest and prop taxes off your taxes, you will most likely make some cash on the property you purchase. We are selling our house of two years, which has appreciated 37 percent in the last two years!! This money is a gift from the universe that is making our transition to ls much easier....a few things to keep in mind if you buy 1) get your mortgage now, when you have a job (quite simply, you need a job or a steady source of income to qualify for a mortgage, and I'm not sure the debt of student loans counts. In fact, it will probably hurt and count against the amount of mortagge you can borrow if you tell them) and 2) consider your property's LOCATION and resale. I'm assuming you're not staying in Athens after ls, and you want to be able to flip it. Get a realtor (Seller pays their costs) and start asking about the most desirable locations for resale value - that should be your prime consideration, esp. if Athens is a buyer's market. Other than that, its soooo great to own a home. Go for it!
if you can swing it do it. I own a house and a condo. Check public records and see how the prices have been over a 3 year period. Do it and get a roommate and make $$.