I read an article in the OC Register this morning, an interview with Lawrence Yun, cheif economist for the National Association of Realtors. Read it here- ( http://lansner.freedomblogging.com/2010/01/16/realtor-economist-says-socal-now-sellers-market/52073/ )
Lawrence claims that our market has shifted to a sellers market. In reality, we have known this for some time, but it's great to see it in print. The exciting thing he points out is that "median home prices already have bottomed out in the Southern California market". We especially see this in Orange County. Although the high end market still has some time to go before seeing a recovery, we're even seeing that breaking up a bit here in the first month of the year. Government incentives, low interest rates, and low prices have brought demand back to our market so quickly that we shifted from a buyer's market to a seller's market in less than a year. We're seeing multiple offers on properties that are priced well, and despite appraisal issues, strict lending guidelines, and difficult obstacles, homes are selling quickly.
The advantage to the seller is a better negotiating position. With multiple offers, you can expect a quicker sale, your pick of more qualified buyers, less concessions to the buyer, and higher offer prices. Pricing your home too high however, is still a big mistake. Buyers are still looking for a great value, and if you make the mistake of overpricing your home, it simply won't sell. Buyers and agents alike will avoid the overpriced homes in favor of more reasonably priced homes because they don't want to negotiate with an unrealistic seller.
Lawrence predicts our market to appreciate modestly in 2010, about 5%. There are other estimates that are more aggressive and more conservative than his prediction, but it shows our market is moving in a positive direction. At that rate, it will take years before we see values begin to approach the levels we had in 05'/06'. The real value in selling today is to purchase another property and take advantage of great prices and interest rates or because you are in trouble with your current property.