With home prices having dropped a painful 21 percent from their 2006 peaks, property owners everywhere could use a splash of good news in their New Year's Eve cocktails. But as a nasty recession is now part of the picture, the chances of an aggressive housing market rebound next year are dim. "A lasting recovery in the housing market?" says Mike Larson, a real estate analyst at Weiss Research. "I don't see it in the cards until the back end of the year—if that."
Here's a look at the factors that will be weighing down the housing market in 2009:
7. Radioactive Effect Despite lower real estate prices and cheaper mortgage rates, the pain inflicted by the housing bust will frighten many would-be buyers away from the market next year, Larson says. "Enough of your 'average Joes' have been burned very badly and will be burned by the time this is all over that investment money is not going to flood back into the market," Larson says. "Any recovery—in my opinion—will be gradual and is going to take time."