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‘The Worst Is Behind Us’? Home Prices Hit Bottom For 2011

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housing market economy real estate recovery

(credit: David Paul Morris/Getty Images)

LOS ANGELES (CBS) — Will a new bottom in the housing market lure buyers back into a tepid housing market?

That’s the question many real estate analysts are asking after new data released Tuesday showed that sales of existing homes fell to 4.8 million in May — their lowest level of the year so far.

But with the slump also sending home prices lower, KNX 1070’s Jon Baird reports that for many fence-sitters, now may be the time to buy.

Since the housing bust in 2006. sales have been steadily falling in four of the past five years, sinking 3.8 percent last month alone.

And although the median price for existing homes has dropped nearly 5 percent in the past year, Dr. Stuart Gabriel of the UCLA Ziman Center for Real Estate still sees a recovery in the works.

“We’re hopeful that with the gradual strengthening of the U.S. economy and certainly with the continued support of monetary policy that the worst is behind us,” said Gabriel.

Dr. Gabriel expects prices may drop a bit in the short run but ultimately bounce back as the economy continues to shake off what many are calling “The Great Recession”.

But realtor Susan Murphy of Keller Williams warns that with rates and prices so low, buyers are gambling if they wait too long.

“The only time you know we’ve hit the bottom is when you’re looking back at the bottom,” said Murphy.

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