Sales look like they could rebound soon, but you can’t say the same for prices.

NEW YORK (Fortune) — Sales in the decimated housing market may finally be bottoming, but don’t expect home prices to stop dropping before mid-2010 at the earliest, analysts and economists say.

Indeed, prices in the battered housing market could get a lot worse before they get better as an avalanche of specialized adjustable rate mortgages, known as option ARMs and Alt-A mortgages, are slated to reset over the next 18 to 24 months, and rising unemployment causes a surge in the number of prime mortgages going into default. All of this is expected to trigger another round of foreclosures and cause home prices to tumble at least another 20% before the market rebounds, according to market analysts and economists.

Market bulls believe home prices could bottom in the second half of 2010, but the bears warn it could be 2013 before they finally trough. And once prices do reach a low, it could be years before they significantly rebound.

Read the full article by Jannet Morissey “Searching for a bottom in the housing market” in fortune magazine (June June 19, 2009).

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