"While the National Association of Realtors estimates existing-home sales rose 5.1% nationwide in February, foreclosures are still on the rise. Dr. David Berson, chief economist of mortgage insurer PMI Group, says the sales uptick simply reflects re-sales of foreclosed properties.
"Sales will turn up before the recession ends," says Berson, but they will be at lower prices. That does little for those who already bought homes during the boom and now face the dual forces of negative equity and job loss. "Delinquencies and foreclosures lag behind unemployment," he says, "and unemployment lags behind the recession."
I think it is clear that while the recent sales uptick is nice and presents some people hope it is more likely just a sign that prices were dropped on distress sales and foreclosures. It is only when the distress sales and foreclosures decline significantly and regular sales increase and prices increase can this poor real estate market be deemed "over". Until then the market is still in decline.