One critical indicator of whether the market is moving in a positive direction is to monitor consumer inquiries. Large real estate offices such as Coldwell Banker are able to see trends in advance of a changing market. I have noticed that Realtor.com inquiries in my market have spiked in January and February. This, in addition to my peers reporting more property showing activity, leads me to believe that we have already seen the bottom of the market. While we will still see foreclosures coming into an already heavy inventory of homes for sale, there is an absolute difference in the "salability" of those homes compared to the homes that are "staged" before going on the market.
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