"Real-estate reports all point to a slowdown after a long boom, but don't assume that it's suddenly a buyers market out there."
"In most metro areas, the current cool-off doesn't mean a surplus of bargain deals. Mortgage rates are up, so the cost of owning a home is actually higher for many people than it was a year ago. And median prices are still rising, not falling."
"Among the nation's 151 metro areas, 26 saw the median price fall."
"It's true that sellers no longer can expect multiple offers on the first day they list their home. For shoppers, it's a strange and wonderful feeling to have some leverage."
"But experts have a warning for today's home shoppers: It often takes a year or two for prices to adjust downward in a slowdown. So far, many areas appear to be in a "topping out" phase more than a "bottoming out."'
"Separate reports confirmed that home builders face a harsher climate of cyclical downturn. New housing starts dropped more than expected in July, and have fallen 13.3 percent in the past year, according to data released Wednesday."
"And an index of builder confidence fell this week to a 15-year low - suggesting more retrenchment to come."
'"In the past, buyers were taking properties just as they were ... because they were afraid of prices going up," says Linda Behnke, assistant manager at a RE/MAX office near San Diego. "They were just happy to just get the house."'
"Realtors are observing a standoff, with home sellers reluctant to cut prices, while buyers try to win concessions. The result is a rising inventory of unsold homes."
"So far, the market shift is visible more in the behavior of buyers and sellers than in the prices."