I think Buyers should "get while the gettin is good". who knows what will happend after Dec 1? We are already seeing the market pick up significantly. Though not reflected in the data yet, I can tell you subjectively, that Buyers are out looking and we are seeing multiple offers on fairly priced houses.
As for the effects on the sellers, we are seeing well priced properties in good condition seller more quickly and for slightly higher prices than the end of '08 and beginning of '09. As I have no real data yet to back that up, I was thinking to myself that prices on the Peninsula are rising, and one of my Buyers just voiced that out loud last week, which helped her to decide to stop looking and make an offer. She said she has been watching data on Trulia and Zillow for some time and based her decision on that.
Another factor: because of the government intervention, mortagage lenders are encouraged to work out a loan modification for seller who are behind on payments, rather than foreclose. There has basically been a hold on foreclosures, which has decreased inventory. That has raised the interest of buyers (and perhaps prices) in those "traditional" sales. Another subjective indicator of market improvement: My home inspector reported he has not inspected a vacant home in 2 weeks-- everything has been owner occupied, where earlier this year, almost all of his inspections were on vacant properties.
My concern for folks who wait is the interest rate. As housing prices rise, so will the interest rates. Right now, we are still rates in the mid to upper 4's -- that is unbelievable!! Again, who knows how long that will last? The decision to buy is based on a lot of personal factors, but if anyone is even considering purchasing for the first time - or moving up--it doesn't hurt to check out the facts: call your friendly neighborhood lender and see exactly what your monthly cost would be with the low rates along with your tax deductions for mortage interest. See what fits into your budget, then go online and see what you can afford. Is it better than where you live now? Do you want to start building equity? If you haven't owned property in the last 3 years, would a check from Uncle Sam for $8000 help you?
Boy, I wish I was first time buyer right now-- I can think of many ways to sepnd that check!