1. They are very motivated to sell
2. They know that the home is overpriced and maybe have not gotten around to doing a price reduction
3. The stronger you can make your offer the more negotiable some sellers are
Prices should go down some more thru the end of this year but it's too early to tell what will happen next year. Depends on what happens with the economy, housing inventory locally, interest rates, unemployment, the stock market and more.
A trusted real estate agent can also help you identify the best buys and possibly which homes are overpriced and due for a price reduction. It's all about comps, Seller motivation and evaluating a home's worth so you maximize your investment dollar and efforts. Good luck in your search!
As for the rates of decline by the summer, I don't think a 15-20% decline in that area is realistic. While prices may continue to re-adjust, I'm not sure they will fall that quickly. What may happen by that time, though, is that interest rates will have risen, so you might want to think about getting locked into a loan before that happens. Rates are inching upwards, so definitely do your homework and ivestigage what your options are. Good luck!
Broker, Coldwell Banker Beverly Hills