My personal opinion is my opinion only, but in your situation I would opt to purchasing now if you can afford it even under the circumstances you feel 26k is a lot of wasted money. While I agree with you on wasting money sounds foolish I also agree with you that the prices on homes especially in certain areas have been increasing.
New built home sales in my area with similar square footage and layouts have increased between 10k and 15k in the last 6 months depending on options etc etc... if interest rates also begin to rise that will also increase your payment. So many things to look at in purchasing a home and making a decision makes all our heads spin.
Once again you also have the option to refinance if you feel at the time the numbers are good for you and cost effective to change to a conventional loan once you qualify.