2013 optimism keeps home sellers on the sidelines

What a watch-and-wait attitude could mean for prices next year

As far back as 2006, when the home sale market was peaking, buyers trying to buy a home in hot markets complained that there wasn’t enough inventory to satisfy the demand. After the bubble burst and home sales and prices sagged, buyers in some areas still complained that there wasn’t enough of the right kind of inventory on the market.

In 2009, solidly in the midst of the recent housing recession, a couple who owned a home in the hills above Oakland, Calif., for 15 years decided to make a move to accommodate their expanding family. They needed more space, wanted a view and needed a floor plan that included au pair quarters.