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Unreal expectations plague real estate

Perspective: False beliefs can trap unwary in housing markets

Real estate, like any realm of human endeavor, is subject to its own myths and beliefs, some of which are wondrously true and others of which are dangerously false. Here are five of the latter that should be debunked: Myth #1: The housing market has "collapsed." Fewer homes have been sold overall throughout the United States so far this year compared with the last few years and the slowdown has struck harder in some markets than others. Yet plenty of people have bought a home this year. In September, existing homes were sold at a pace of 6.18 million units, according to the National Association of Realtors, while new-built houses were sold at a rate of 1.08 million units, according to government agencies. Those seasonally adjusted and annualized figures aren't a "collapse" of the housing markets by any stretch of the imagination. Likewise, the rapid pace of home-price appreciation has come to a halt and even reversed itself in some markets. The national median home price for September...