Sean McAlister

In a recent report for homebuyers, all signs suggest that their time is now. In many parts of the country, sellers have finally gotten the message by now, and homebuyers must take the hint. Real estate experts say a switch in the psychology of the housing market has helped buyers to see the silver lining around the market's storm clouds and usher in the fine shopping weather. Two years of stormy real estate markets appear to have created an ideal climate for bargain-minded house hunters who know where to look.

David Lereah, the chief economist for the National Association of Realtors, said that "we are now in a solid buyer's market," also added "It has been a seller's market for many years, but now we are seeing people across the country making deals and bringing prices down."

"What happened was, investors pulled out in droves, and the housing markets went dead," comments Lereah, "When the investors stopped buying, regular buyers got scared." A loss of confidence on the part of real estate investors triggered the psychological switch, he says.

"Now they are making deals," Lereah says, speaking about the dearth of buyers, sellers eventually realized they would have to make concessions on their sale prices.

Mickey Levy, the chief economist for the Bank of America, points out that the market is also suffering from an oversupply of homes created by an overzealous home-builder community. If the downturn was simply a product of a short-term panic, things would likely be back to normal by now.

He says that "While demand is picking up, there is still that large supply overhang," and added "And while the numbers are starting to come up for sales, prices still have a bit to drift before they start rebounding." With a listless housing market, savvy buyers in many markets across the U.S. are finding themselves in the best position they have been in for nearly a decade when it comes to price negotiations.

Levy does warn, however, that not all sellers are in a dealing mood. He also said that "Even though existing-home prices are basically flattish on a national level, I would issue a bit of caution with that number," following up with "Housing is inherently a local market, and national numbers are notorious for not offering an accurate snapshot of what is happening in a particular market.

"On the whole, Levy says to expect prices, on average, to drift slightly lower as a function of clearing out excess inventory. And inventory is the key. So, while prices in Southern California and parts of Florida may be down significantly, other markets may still be enjoying healthy price gains.