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Economists: 2012 marks the end of a long bottom

Real estate industry experts offer midyear forecasts

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DENVER -- U.S. housing markets are likely to continue on a path of slow recovery after seeing a multiyear bottom, according to three real estate industry economists participating in a forum hosted by the National Association of Real Estate Editors said today. Continuing uncertainties over negative equity (about a third of homeowners with mortgages owe more than their homes are worth, according to Zillow), fuzzy housing finance reform possibilities, lagging foreclosure processing and tight lending standards are potential obstacles to the slow-rising tide of the U.S. housing market, they said. David Crowe, the chief economist and senior vice president of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB); Lawrence Yun, chief economist and senior vice president of research at the National Association of Realtors (NAR); and Stan Humphries, chief economist at online real estate marketplace Zillow gave their insights at a panel discussion. Despite the semi-bright outlook, recent years hav...