I'm getting the sense that agents in general are guided by the herd mentality. They tend to extrapolate the current trend and market conditions too far into the future. I guess it's just human nature. The problem is that agents do have the power to persuade the players in the housing market.
I remember that a common theme not long after the market leveled off was that those stupid low balling buyers just didn't know anything about the market. Buyers putting in low offers were scorned and referred to in a negative way. Prices had leveled off but there was no way they were going to go down. That just doesn't happen. Don't you know that you have to bid higher than the last sale in order to have a chance at actually buying it? Those crazy low ballers were going to come up empty and miss all of that appreciation that was right around the corner.
Fast forward a couple years and now putting in offers at 20-30% below asking price is a common and accepted occurrence. Now it's no longer the "unreasonable buyers" but it's the "unreasonable sellers" that I see many agents writing about. I'm reading more and more posts about how some sellers just don't understand how bad the market is. Don't you know that you have to price it below the last sale in order to have a chance at selling?
I actually think that agents in mass help push prices higher on the way up and then push them lower on the way down.
I hear so many agents whine about the media being negative but when it comes time to talk with a seller about price, all you'll hear them say is how bad the market is and that they need to get ahead of the downward trend in pricing or they will never sell. You end up with a concerted effort by agents that pushes prices down.
I'm starting to see agents who on a regular basis list REO homes 30% lower than other comparable homes. They seem to have convinced the banks that the market is worse than it is.
It might be true that the trend is your friend but it's important to try to recognize when things start to turn.
So I'm going to use ActiveRain posts and comments as my contrary indicator. When the majority opinion is that sellers are just not being reasonable on their price, then I think it's time to start buying. I think we're almost there.