I think how the market is all depends on which side you are on and which location you are at.
Real Estate is local, local and local and even within Marin County, San Francisco Bay Area, one of the best places to buy in Marin, there are very many different micro markets (even within a city). Some are extremely popular, others are stale. Within a city, a certain price range works differently than the other.
So, there will be no blanket statement from me about how the market is, it will just be too naive and irresponsible.
How the market is really depends on your purpose.