Well, there are a few things.
- Interest rates are the lowest since 1971, according to Freddie Mac. There is a lot of variation depending on whether you are purchasing or refinancing a property, have a conforming or a jumbo loan, have a 30-year fixed or an adjustable, have good credit or excellent—but some people report obtaining less than 4.5% for a conforming ($417,000 or less) loan.
- More sellers have more reasonable expectations now.
- The number of days on market for homes that sell has dropped slightly in Los Angeles (according to www.happyrenews.com).
- Although everyone was disappointed to hear that closed sales of homes dropped 27% in July, those that went "pending" (real estate language for removing all contingencies in escrow) actually increased by 5% over the previous month. http://articles.latimes.com/2010/sep/02/business/la-fi-pending-home-sales-20100903 .
Still the question I am asked most often is “When do you think prices will go up?” Come on, guys! If I knew the answer to that I’d have also known the answer to the question “When will the bubble burst?” and “What’s the secret to making $1 million in a year?” My answer to you is if you are contemplating making a real estate move, don’t try to time the market. You will never know where a bottom or a peak is until it’s past. In my experience, people who are clear about why they need to make a move generally have a better experience than people who can’t make up their minds or want to get the very last penny they can when they sell or the very best deal when they buy.
We don’t know right now if we will have a “double dip” recession, if prices will go up or down in the next few years. If you make your plans to buy or sell based on what you guess the market will do, you are avoiding the real issue. People generally move for more personal reasons like changes in their employment, family, health, and lifestyle – and if you keep this in mind while you contemplate your real estate decisions you will most likely end up in a better situation to suit your needs.