I think the rhetorical question is an important warning for unaware home buyers. Even former Fed head, Alan Greenspan, just told the Wall Street Journal that he didn't expect a bottom until mid 2009 which he qualified with an OR LATER. The financial community is having a good laugh at his prediction given that much earlier he said there would be no mortgage crisis and then later again erroneously said that problems would be limited to "family crises" as opposed to the economy and other markets.
The point is a lot of people have been trying to cheer lead home buyers along in order to minimize the impacts, like CNBC whose commentators, up until the undeniable realization of the crisis last year, had been vigorously denying any possibility of a housing bubble. The reality is that the International Monetary Fund has estimated total mortgage losses will be around $1 trillion, but so far financial institutions have only declared about half that which you could use as a rough gauge that we're only half way through the crisis which doesn't necessarily say where a bottom will be found.
You can be sure now that mortgage liquidity has dried up and lending practices have tightened there will be less buyers to compete for real estate purchases. Furthermore, the country will not return to the extremely high amount of available mortgage funding that enabled consumers to drive up real estate at phenomenal rates simply because the Fed's lending rate is already down to 2% and they're not about to drop it anymore (if anything they'll raise it within the next 5 or 6 months). Which makes the post by Monique Carrabba about inflation a homeowner's best hope. In other words, continued value erosion of the U.S. dollar is the only thing that will price homes at the values they once were and that's just not a good investment. Everyone should keep in mind that it's the recent legislation allowing the U.S. Treasury to promise your tax money to bail out Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac WITHOUT LIMIT which is what is keeping the whole market (housing and otherwise) from falling off a cliff. If home buyers can hold off on their purchase, they should wait until the data actually shows upward trends and disregard the cheer leaders. No one can call a bottom with definitive accuracy until the data shows upward trends, then we can point to a bottom in retrospect.