Everyone is entitled to their opinion - but it can ruin the entire concept when the typical "yes, the market is great" answers are given.
The truth is in statistics. I'm certain our Realtor friends could, for instance, tell us how many properties sold in calendar year 2006 and 2007......as a baseline. Then they could tell us 2009 sales to date, both as a percentage of asking price and in terms of the numbers of closings.
I am not a pro - but I have bought and sold properties for 30+ years and one thing that has remained consistent is that many Realtors ALWAYS tell me things are amazing....well, truth be told, they sometimes tell me they won't even accept a listing because nothing is selling. In those cases, I have often sell the property myself and proven them wrong.
So the real truth lies somewhere in between. There is, due to geography, only "X" amount of decent properties in Newport County. That means many potential buyers don't have vast choices in any price or location range. As a result, a good property at a good price can be sold.
However, a turnaround or complete transition will only be evident after the fact...after properties settle and are counted, and IMHO it has not happened yet.......
Personally, if I was a Realtor, I would refrain from using blanket statements like "All these items definitely LEAD to a stronger Seller's Market". Interest rates may be headed up. Th $8K thing is expiring.
On the other hand, the stock market is improving AND time is passing. That means many sellers have to sell and SOME buyers want to buy. I'll go this far.......if you want to buy Real Estate in the Newport area, now is probably as good a time as any to look and make offers. But do so with discretion. Look at the recent sales - google the properties and check them out. Find a buyer who really needs to sell...make an offer, etc.