This is purely anecdotal and our personal experience (but will also be proven by unit sales numbers for first quarter 2010). Those looking to buy a home are much more confident, happier with their choices and finding values. They are also finding multiple offer situations on properties in this early 2010. In just the past week, I've had clients lose out on places and also beat others to the punch (with back-up offers waiting in the wings). So far, people are putting 20% down and using conforming loans.... representing very willing and able buyers. Our most active price-range has been $350,000 to $550,000 in Lakeview, Lincoln Park, Ravenswood and Lincoln Square. This is up from last year's early season bargain hunters on the lower end.
I'm biased, sure. However, no one can deny the increased activity in the market... any decent new property on the market is slammed with showings. Open houses are busy. Our job is to help our clients buy a home... and we (my partner and I) are racing against the clock to make sure our clients see the best values and have an opportunity to make an offer.
The beginning of 2009 was a much different story due to the bank crashes and economic uncertainty. Many sellers didn't get the memo on pricing. We were pretty dead until third quarter and we sort of experienced reverse market activity.
2010 was shot out of a cannon.