Tough thing to predict the market.
If you look into historical trend, right now prices are close to 1975 to 1985 bottom, when adjusted for inflation. This is based on: http://www.chartoftheday.com/20120316.htm?T
If you price them with ratio of Gold, it is very low compared to 1980's and before.
It is good idea to make a proper judgement based on needs, finances, family etc and work with realtor.
I agree with Jay. You may need to change some of your criteria, such as location. There is no such thing as the perfect house. There are always some kind of compromise. You need to have a daily email alert with all new homes on the market within your criteria & check it daily. As soon as something comes up, you need to check it out ASAP
You are not alone in your frustration! The number of private sellers who can afford to sell without taking a short-sale, are limited due to the drop in values in recent years and banks are moving slowly and cautiously. As far as I can tell, the banks have been slowly putting homes on the market that have been sitting for two years or more. Will they "flood" the market again like they did in '07 through '09? Probably not--that strategy didn't work-out so well, as they essentially shot themselves in both feet and helped crash property values for themeselves as well as owner-occupants. So, if you are waiting for a huge influx of bank listings, you may be waiting on something that may never happen???? My best advise is to work closely with a dedicated and experienced local agent who has their finger on the pulse of the exact marketplace you want to be and who can get you the new listings as they pop onto the market--and by all means, move quickly and aggressively when something of interest pops up. The early bird gets the worm! I'd be happy to discuss it further with you.
Jay M. Jones, Realtor