Why Housing Has a "Buy" Sign on It

With price declines and a bottom in sight, odds are improving that first-time home buyers will see positive returns over time.

Will the nightmare on Main Street ever end? It sure doesn't seem like it, with home prices falling for 57 straight months, weighed down by everything from foreclosures to defaults to negative equity. Mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are still troubled wards of the federal government. Recent headlines have trumpeted the housing market woes, such as the Wall Street Journal's May 9 story "Home Market Takes a Tumble" and CNN/Money's "Home Prices Crushed" the next day. Gary Shilling, a longtime Wall Street observer, recently panned homeownership in a lengthy report, "Still Home Sick."

The drumbeat of bad news is sinking in. A survey taken in April by Trulia and RealtyTrac has 54 percent of homeowners and renters saying housing won't recover until at least 2014. That's up from 34 percent in November.

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Chris Farrell
Contributing Columnist, Kiplinger.com