The more conversational approach to analysis is the qualitative. An interesting question that help me define the market from this approach is:
What do home-buyers want today?
First, let me say this question is important because it is central to the idea of "beginning with the end in mind." If you are active in today's market, whether you are investing, buying or selling, you should spend some time with this principle. It is essential to identify your purpose for being in the real estate market, and equally important to weigh decisions based on their likelihood of achieving that purpose.
To put it frankly, today's buyer wants a good deal! This should come as no surprise; buyer's have always wanted good deals. However, it is especially important in the mind of today's buyers. It is very likely the #1 item on every buyer's list is "getting a good deal." In years past, the #1 item for many may have been location, school system, safety, amenities, newness, or features of the property. But even these important considerations have taken a passenger seat to the pursuit of a good deal!
Example: In 2006 buyer's Bill and Mary may have paid an extra $15,000 because 210 Walnut Ave. had granite in the kitchen and an open floor plan. However, the same buyer's today would rather save that $15,000 and live with formica counters and an extra wall in the foreclosure for sale right down the street.
The implications span the entire scope of the market, but the quick learners will digest this information and act accordingly. Remember, a piece of property is worth what someone is willing and able to pay for it! Make sure you're not the HIGH bidder!