National forecasts and market statistics are worthless in a market that is all local. California could see price declines over 30% in some areas.. whereas parts of the country saw prices increase this year.
Even in the Twin Cities, each suburb, price point and type of home is demonstrating different fundamentals. What's also likely to happen in the next year is a significant increase in interest rates, meaning that even if the price falls 10% the increase in mortgage rates might make up for that and more.
Another important factor is that the current list price has absolutely nothing to do with what to offer. Some houses are priced so well that even today they are getting multiple offers and some houses are overpriced by 20%+ and sit for months (and years).
Further, most sellers are not going to accept the premise that since prices MIGHT fall another 10%-15% in the future that they must take it off the price now.
With all of this, making any broad statement on how much off to offer is too general to be worthwhile. What I do with my buyers to do is review the comparables for sale and the comparables that have sold and determine what it is worth today. We then discuss what they feel it is worth to them. We take the lower of the two numbers, subtract another 3%-5%, and start there with an offer.
If any of us could accurately forecast the future, we'd have all bought tankers full of gasoline last year, sold all our houses 2 years ago, cashed out of our stocks last November at their peak, and converted all of our US Currency to Euros a few years ago. Since we cannot, all we can do is work with the situation in front of us or avoid the situation completely.
I've been in my home for 7 years and am currently in negotiations for a move-up house for myself... I believe if you can secure a good house at a good price today and plan to be in it for more than a few years, any short-term downside still left in the market isn't a big concern as I'm locking in a historically low interest rate and the long-term benefits of owning real estate are clear. As someone in the business for 6 years, I'm confident in taking advantage of this market... as are most of my clients!