Real estate

Chat transcript: Housing recovery is long way off

June 27, 2012 at 3:49 PM ET

Image: Zillow
Zillow

For those of you lamenting the heydays of the housing market, it may be time to leave the past behind.

It’s going to be a long time before we’re going to real-estate party like it’s 2005, according to real estate website Zillow’s chief economist Stan Humphries, who was on hand to take questions Wednesday during our live web chat on the housing market.

One question he took from a reader named Bob seemed to be on more than one person’s mind.

“Being in the middle class a.k.a. the new working poor, many of us felt better when our homes were worth more and some a lot more. Do you see the real estate market ever approaching the 2005/2006 price range?”

To that, Humphries offered a real estate reality check:

“In real terms, after considering inflation, it will be a considerable time (e.g., decades) before we reach those levels. Even in nominal terms, the prices you see on things everyday, we're likely looking at 10 to 20 years before some of the hardest hit markets return to peak levels.”

But it wasn’t all bad news.

Reader Charles asked: “Will the home values continue dropping?”

Humphries answered:

“Nationally we've had three months of increasing home values as of May. We've been expecting some modest declines nationally by year end but a lot of the larger markets are seeing stronger stabilization at this point than we'd previously expected.”

But, he added, it “really depends on the market as real estate is, as always, super local. Markets like Atlanta and Chicago are still seeing some declines in home values while markets like Phoenix and Miami are seeing real price spikes.”

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