Q: When do you estimate the return of the fully "standard sale" market?

A: My friend, I went out of the business of gazing into my real estate crystal ball a long, long time ago. Once was, every year I was asked to predict precisely when in the next year the market would recover.

Nowadays, the most I’ll do is call out several markets a year that I think are showing signs that they’ll do better than average — things like net population growth, net job growth, low unemployment rates and high affordability all generally point to a city that will fare better than others.

As well, there are a few markets in which demand is so restricted by tight land-use guidelines and the very minimal availability of land that they tend to fare relatively well throughout a recession, like my own San Francisco Bay Area stomping grounds. Relatively.

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