When I need to put gas in my car, I usually stop by Costco on my way in to work in the morning. I get there just around 6 AM, when the place opens, and usually spend a few minutes chatting with the guy who unlocks the pumps. He knows I'm a real estate investor because my car has a license plate frame that says "I Buy Houses" and we often talk about local real estate trends.
This morning he told me he has seen stories of people who are trading their houses with someone else instead of buying a new one. With prices still too high in some parts of the Valley, these people can't afford to purchase a new home, so they find someone to swap houses with. The hard part, of course, is getting two people together who have homes the other one wants and are similar in price range, but that's a something the internet is great for.
I'm not sure how all the details would work out. I'm sure if one home was worth a couple thousand more than the other, the extra cash would be paid, so the typical exchange probably isn't a true house swap. However, this is an interesting concept.
I'm sure Realtors won't like this idea, since there would be no commission in it for them.