I would recommend renting right now if you can't plan on being in the area for more than 3 years. The last thing you want to have is a mortgage looming over your head when you have to pay to move to another city.
I can only speculate what the average days on market will be for a home for sell when you would need to sell 3 years from now, but I anticipate it will be different from what is going on now.
The problem with people selling is that they can't just take any offer, these houses have mortgages. Several people are afraid of short sells because it effects the credit. Now don't misunderstand the situaiton a lot of people selling don't necessarily need to move, most people end up right sizing their homes for the situation that they are currently in but a lot of them will stay until the market makes a turn if they don't sell.
I figure once the foreclosures burn off the market listings from individual sellers will dominate the market again and you will see the market rate for homes selling go up and average days will be shorter for the more expensive homes again, but that is more of a macro picture. The situation could very for each neighborhood.
Good Luck on your move.
Chris Hutchinson Real Estate
The Michael Group