In my judgment, as a retired banker and long time agent, prices over the past 10 years rose at an unsustainable rate and fell even more rapidly when the marketplace lost faith. At the present time we are in a "buyer's" market - buyers may have more influence on the final property than does the seller. Sellers anxious to sell their property, for whatever reason, are more likely to accept an offer significantly below the listing price. Why? Because people are unsure of their personal futures as to their job, their other obligations, the state of the economy, taxes, general living expenses. When people become more confident in job stability, and living expenses they will re-enter the market and home sales will rise.
You will see a rise in buyers and values when the people at the low end of the market (starter homes, etc.) start feeling confident. This is because the sellers of the "starter homes" will buy up allowing the "up people" to buy up. The trend will continue all the way to the luxury homebuyers.
So, you ask when. We need to be a nation of people with meaningful jobs. Our people need to be able to find employment in the job sector in which they have experience or training. Building/rebuilding highways, bridges and other "shovel ready" projects may be a start, but we need manufacturing jobs, finance jobs, service jobs, teaching jobs, farming jobs, energy jobs - full time, long term jobs. Not government jobs.
I am sorry if you think you think you got a rant instead of an answer, but confidence and stability is the answer. They will come, the question is when.
Agent with Weidel Realtors, Pennington, NJ