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Curbed Round Table: State of the Market

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The big headline this morning concerned the Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller index and reports that home prices fell 11.7 percent in January nationwide, the biggest plunge since data was first collected for the company since 1987. Los Angeles wasn't the worst of the bunch--that falls to Miami and Los Vegas--but the area did see a 16.5 percent decline. Bernard Baumohl, managing director of the Economic Outlook Group, tells the Mercury News: "It's unlikely that we will see any sustained jump in home purchases, much less higher prices, until mid-2009 at the earliest." While we have read about tremors in the downtown condo market, we've also seen that the upper end of the market, i.e., Beverly Hills, is faring relatively well. Plus, there's this bit of positive news: The National Association of Realtors reported home sales rose by 2.9 percent in February. So does that mean the bottom has come and gone? Taking a nod from our East Coast site, which encourages healthy discussion about the state of the market, let's put it out there: Where is the market headed? How low will prices dip and when? And when will buyers come back?
· Home sales rise as prices drop [Mercury News]
· Home Prices and Consumer Sentiment Slide [NY Times]