Is this the best time to buy real estate to rent out??
You need to talk to a local Realtor. They will be able to tell you what the local market conditions are. If you can come up with about 4% of the purchase price, and have a decent credit score, you can get FHA financing. Because of the tax advantages of homeownership, and the newly passed Housing & Economic Recovery Act, (which has a $7500 tax credit for 1st time home buyers) this may absolutely be the best time to buy. But you need to know what the local market conditions are before you decide which way to go.
You can use the "Rent vs Own" calculator on my website to help you:
look near the bottom of the page, and click on the "Rent vs Buy" tab.
It depends where you are really.