There seem to be tons of houses for sale in the area now. I've been hearing people say "it's a good time to buy a home" or "it's the best time to buy a home in last 15 years" (the second is a literal quote). Umm, no, actually ignoring the last 2 years it's probably the *worst* time to buy a home out of the last 15 years. For one things, prices in desired places are literally FOUR TIMES what they were 15 years ago. In Seattle they are still roughly 200% of what they were only 2-3 years ago. Interest rates are not as low as they were doing the free-money boom, but you also don't have massive appreciation to look forward to. Pretty much anything you buy now is going to be lucky to hold its value for the next 10 years.
There are tons of laws in the US that are basically specifically designed for real estate speculators. So many people do it that it's widely accepted as a "good thing", but it seems quite bizarre to me. Obviously everyone knows about the interest deduction, but the lack of gains tax on profits from your primary residence may be even more significant for speculators.