(Source: Reuters

The U.S. housing market that has badly deteriorated in the past three years will stabilize this summer and the United States will be the first economy to rebound, Real Estate mogul Sam Zell said on Monday.

“Housing market stability will appear sometime this summer,” Zell said, speaking before more than 2,000 people attending a luncheon at the International Council of Shopping Centers’ annual convention in Las Vegas. “I can’t tell you if it’s June 29 or August 1.”

The dearth of new supply should help the housing market find a bottom, Zell said. U.S. home builders have been forced to severely scale back on new homes, to an estimated 350,000 this year at current construction rates from 1.7 million in 2006.

Zell made a fortune in commercial real estate by buying up distressed property in the early 1990s during a deep downturn in the U.S. commercial property sector.

In 2007, he personally reaped roughly $2 billion when he sold Equity Office Properties Trust to Blackstone Group for about $23 billion. That sale is seen by many real estate investors as the top of the U.S. commercial real estate boom.

Read Ilaina Jonas’s full article “U.S. housing market to stabilize this summer: Zell” in Reuters (May 18, 2009).

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