Real Estate is all a VERY local numbers game. It varies widely from state to state, city to city, and even neighborhood to neighborhood. The best person to answer that would be a LOCAL real estate agent.
That being said, no one has a crystal ball and we can't foresee the future. We can answer what has been going on over the past month, 3 months, 6 months, etc. Past gains are not necessarily indicative of future returns. If you want my opinion on a national basis, I think home prices have stabilized and will remain mostly flat for the next year or two. Nearly 1 in 3 homes on the market currently are either short sales or foreclosures. That number doesn't seem to be reducing either. In Real Estate, it is called a "shadow market" or "phantom market" in that many of the homes that are in foreclosure are not even on the market yet and may not be on the market for a couple of years.
Does that mean that now is not a good time to buy? Absolutely not! Now is a great time to buy!
1) Housing prices are low and look to have stabilized. Your risk of losing money is small. (again, confer with a local agent regarding local trends. Your area may not be "out of the woods" yet.)
2) Interest rates are still low.
3) Economists are starting to use the "inflation" word, and some are even talking about the possibility of "hyperinflation". When this happens, interest rates will likely rise significantly. For every $100,000 that you mortgage, a 1% rise in interest rates increases your mortgage by over $60 per month. While that not sound like much for a $100,000 loan, consider someone buying a $350,000 home. That will mean the difference of more than $210 per month.
4) The average annual appreciation of real estate over the past 30 years has been 6%. This includes down markets and up markets. Given this number, down years have to be offset by up years, and there have to have been more up years than down. This bodes well for housing prices going out a few years.
5) If you are an investor, there are deals out there to be made.
I hope this answered your question. If you would like more local opinion, contact a local real estate agent.
Because it's more than real estate. It's RAYL-Estate!
Brian Rayl, REALTORÂ®, e-PRO, SFR
Keller Williams - Dallas, TX