I think its important for Buyers and Sellers to understand that when we talk about the "market" we are actually talking about many different markets. Just as in the BayArea there are many different eco-systems and climate zones there are also many different markets. With the changes in Housing over the past few years there have emerged some very distinct market areas.
Even if we're talking about REO's (foreclosures), the market in East Oakland is similar yet different from West Oakland, and quite different from Montclaire. And the market in Antioch, Richmond, El Sobrante and Berkeley are quite different from each other as well. Then we have the high end market, short sales, condos, lofts, first time buyers, and the list goes on with each area having its own specific personality and quirks. For example, right now in Berkeley the inventory for good homes is very low and there are only a few foreclosures which means multiple offers on any decently priced property, while at the very same time, in East Oakland there are many foreclosed properties available for sale which tend to keep values depressed. The point of all this is that if you are thinking about buying or sellling a property it is probably a good idea to consult with someone who is in the field everyday and who knows the particular market appropriate to you. Each market is a changing, fluid entity and there is some cross over between or among markets. If you read about it in the newspaper or hear about it on the radio it is probably not what is happening in the market place today. a good realtor is ahead of the news because s/he is in the field everyday looking at homes and watching the dynamics of the marketplace.