Hi Mary - My colleaugues have offered some great insights. Fact is, we cannot know when absolute bottom is - who will buy the one home "at the bottom" before they start climbing again? Someone very shrewd! A few thoughts, though.
1) While we may not be rock bottom (and we may be!) prices are very low in comparison to several years ago. There are great deals and people are taking advantage of the market conditions to purchase well under market value. Will it go down another percent or two? Maybe. But in the long run, you should come out smelling like a rose. Therefore, if you want to flip a property, dont buy. If you want to buy one and enjoy it, now is a great time.
2) As William indicated, alot of people got caught because they couldnt predict the top of the market. I suspect that many people will miss out because they cannot predict the bottom. That is, by holding out and holding out, you may be missing some great deals. And then one day, you turn around and prices are rising. Actually, once that starts happening, its already a bit too late. Once the media tells you its safe to buy, prices are on the rise.
3) The people who make money are always the innovators, the leaders. Right now, we are seeing multiple offers on good properties , and even properties selling in a couple days if they are priced well. Who's buying? Those who know the first rule of investment - buy when everyone else is selling, sell when everyone else is buying.
Of course I cant guarantee that if you bought a home now, it wont dip in value before it goes back up. But it will go back up...and one last word of advice - dont concentrate as much on the list price to indicate a "good deal" - find out what the home is worth, and then buy for less than that! Im happy to help.