Well I guess it would depend on who you ask and whether they are a purchaser or are listing their home. In Montgomery County it also depends on where you live or are looking to buy.
Bethesda and Chevy Chase are leaning towards a strong sellers market due to lack of inventory and relatively low prices. Low interest rates are helping their situation as well. Other areas such as East Silver Spring and Clarksburg may disagree though. Many of these homes are still underwater and short sales/bank sales are prevalent.
Poor buyers who have specific needs may be having a difficult time filling their requirements. Although inventory has dramatically picked up in the last two weeks, there are still few exceptional houses in some areas of the county. Buyers for homes in certain areas can find themselves competing with multiple offers and escalation clauses. However, some sellers may be wondering where any offer is in their neighborhood.
Sellers will believe it's a seller's market and buyers believe it's a buyer's market. How do we bridge the gap? It seems to be getting increasingly more difficult to get both sides to agree on value. Both want the best deal and misperceptions can add to the interference.
What we have is in fact a normal market with certain pockets in our county leaning more toward one end than the other. In times like this it is crucially important to evaluate the long term goals of our sellers and buyers. For those looking to move up into larger homes this is a great time to commit to the sale of your current home and take advantage of a lower price on your new one. Have realistic expectations in regards to your offers on your new home and think about what potential buyers may present you with on your current home. Those looking to purchase for the first time need to focus on investing in an asset that is sure to appreciate and take advantage of some excellent incentives. Sellers who have owned their homes for more than ten years have already made (and lost some) of their profit and should be thankful that they can move on without being upside down.
I suppose that the point I am trying to make is that those entering or revisiting the real estate market in 2010 need to have a longer term plan. Unless you are a savvy investor there will be no more quick turnovers for substantial profit. However, there will also be less risk of depreciation than in the previous few years. Stay logical and realistic and you will be a happy homeowner or seller. Personally I have never had a client tell me five years down the line that they feel that they overpaid (or under-received) five thousand dollars. Homeownership is about lifestyle and realizing a dream...not about nickel and diming.