Home owners were mostly disappointed by the latest data on home prices.
The S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index fell 3.7 percent over the 12 months ending in November 2011. A positive note is that this is a significant improvement from 2009 when prices were falling at a rate of more than 20 percent a year.
Home prices peaked in the spring of 2006, and the decline has now lasted almost six years.
Research by economists Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff shows that real estate crashes tend to take about six years on average before finding a bottom. Their research looked at the impact of market bubbles and crashes over the past 800 years.
Decades-long recoveries are also normal after a price bubble bursts.
After the stock market crash in 1929, it took 25 years for prices to recover.
There was a 16-year recovery period after stocks peaked in 1966. The Nasdaq 100, an index of tech stocks that soared more than 2,300 percent during the internet bubble, is still more than 50 percent below the highs set in the spring of 2000.
Full recoveries can take many years, but prices generally stop falling after a few years. Real estate prices seem to be in the bottoming phase of a post-bubble crash.
Although history offers room for optimism, for now, the only thing certain about home prices is that no one knows what to expect next.
Housing and bubble expert Robert Shiller recently told The Wall Street Journal that you “just can’t tell” if the market is at a turning point.
Shiller did note that “Right now, it looks like the bottom version of the turning point in 2005.” We aren’t likely to see a sharp rally in home prices, but the slowdown in the decline really is good news.
© 2013 Moneynews. All rights reserved.