Potential homebuyers may be waiting on the sidelines for their dream home to surface at a low, low price, but Pro Teck Valuation Services says data on the shadow inventory proves this may be a misperception.

Rather than having an onslaught of desirable, well-kept homes ready to hit the market, Pro Teck seems to define the market at this point as one where the good buys are in short supply and causing bidding wars in popular communities.

The idea that foreclosures are filling the markets with buyer opportunities is misleading in many cases, Pro Teck executives suggest in a new report.

"With regard to the U.S. foreclosure inventory, there has been a misperception that it is a problem for the entire market," said Tom O'Grady, CEO of Pro Teck Valuation Services. "In fact, it is quite concentrated in specific cities and neighborhoods."

And if you're shopping in highly desired neighborhoods in states like California and Texas, finding steals in desirable neighborhoods is going to be much harder to do. Inventory levels in the counties of San Diego, Orange and Los Angeles are already down to a five-month low, the lowest point since the market's peak six years ago, Pro Teck said.

"This is significant because in the Los Angeles market over the past 25 years, whenever this indicator was below five months, the median price increased by close to 19% the following year," O'Grady said. "Of course, it remains to be seen if the same appreciation happens again."

Pro Pro Teck's home value forecast for September shows that areas where the price-per-square foot is less than $550 now have inventory levels under 6 months, suggesting fewer options for buyers in that price range.

What O'Grady suggests not to wait for is a flood of foreclosures coming online to reduce prices for buyers. He points out that Southern California, Texas and Maryland are already experiencing more home sales and some price appreciation.

Take for example DataQuick's August statistics on Southern California, which show the median price at a four-year high of $309,000. Furthermore, when looking at the counties of Los Angeles, Riverside, San Diego, Ventura, San Bernardino and Orange new and resale home sales edged up 14.2% in August over last year.

Pro Teck is not alone in its assessment of the market. Goldman Sachs (GS) released a report this week, saying some price appreciation is expected with buyers finding a short supply of ready-to-move in homes that are considered attractive to today's homebuyers.

kpanchuk@housingwire.com