The Bay Area real estate is doing quite well regardless of what other parts of country is doing, or even other parts of California.
As the old saying goes; location, location, location. That is still number one factor on what you should be looking for; and if you are selling a property in a great location, you will do fine.
Homes in choice area are still selling nicely. The Bay Area has strong job market, robust economy, beautiful environment, immigrants moving in, limited housing market; supply and demand dictates the housing market. It's slower, but prices are holding nicely.
The higher priced areas are doing way above average homes with strong demand. With the bonus season coming, I am anticipating more activities in those areas. As a matter of fact, I have seen a lot more buyers out during the past few weeks; defy the conventional wisdom which seems to fly around so much lately.
It also does not seem to have been affected too much by the sub-prime void; other than certain pockets in the area; which is nice; although it does take some explaining to others who are worried.
Where are you thinking about buying or selling? Knowing the details will allow us to give you the statistics for that specific area(s).
In SF we are in an almost balanced market. The key to selling is to price for our market, which is very different then other markets, and be prepared when you go on the market. We still see multiple offers and competition of well prepared and well priced homes.
The key to buying now is to look at homes that not everyone else wants. Homes where the seller expected too much initially and the good home is languishing. Make an offer and be prepared work out a deal.
A word of warning and actually bafflement - SF agents & buyers are hesitant to make below asking offers. An example: house listed for $749K no offers for 30 days reduced to $687K sells quicky for $715K. If the value is $715,000 why wait make the offer!
You can check out the blog that I just wrote at the following link.
If you are in San Francisco - the market there is very strong compared to some far weaker real estate markets in the North, East and South Bays. The Peninsula is also holding very strong. Both SF and the Peninsula are inventory contrained and are both producing jobs at a very good rate. There are some very good moves you can make in this market if you give us some more details on what you want to achieve.