Believe it or not, there are more than a few forecasts that the real estate market is showing signs of life.  Stephen Kim at Barclays Capital says "...the pieces for a housing rebound next year are beginning to fall into place."  Even a very modest rebound could be very easily derailed, but here are some factors the experts are taking into consideration:  Rents are rising enough to consider buying, inventory levels are lower, affordability is at a record high, delinquencies may be peaking, job growth is slowly accelerating, and consumer confidence is also better than it has been. 

     In the St Louis market, some areas will continue to struggle with falling values in the new year.  In areas where inventory remains high and higher foreclosure rates prevail, it will be some time before values stabilize.  Overall though, the number of homes sold has risen steadily year to date compared with last year, and declining prices do show an encouraging trend. 

     There are very good opportunities to buy and sell right now, but buying is certainly a lot more fun that selling!  The old adage "it's both a price war and beauty pageant" has never been more true.  This is a "shoulda-coulda-woulda time, where people will look back and wish they had taken advantage of current interest rates to either upsize or downsize into a great home.