This guy has intriguing evidence, but his reasons are just ivory-tower guesses.  Hat tip to DB for sending this along from businessinsider.com:

Barclays analyst Stephen Kim is becoming increasingly convinced that the housing market is near a bottom and that it will rebound in 2012.

He points to one key trend, which he is surprised is getting so little attention.

In the absence of a government homebuyer incentive, prices for non-distressed home sales have stabilized for almost a year! In our opinion, this is the most important trend in the housing industry right now, and we are amazed at how little attention it has been getting from the media and the Street. Meanwhile, we point out that this stability on the part of non-distressed prices has occurred despite a very high share of distressed activity and continued declines in overall prices.

Kim continues:

We are particularly intrigued by the inability of distressed sales to drag down non-distressed pricing. This separation between the two types of housing is critical for several reasons:

– The data shows that a distressed home is increasingly being seen as a poor substitute for a non-distressed home.
– This bifurcation between distressed and non-distressed homes will only widen with the passage of time.
– With buyers now discerning that distressed homes cannot be compared to non-distressed homes, concerns about the workout of foreclosures may be overblown.

Kim believes that stability in these prices in the absence of government subsidies is strong signal that home buyer sentiment is improving.  Furthermore, he notes that stabilization in relevant economic indicators such as unemployment and consumer sentiment only strengthens his argument.

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/barclays-the-most-important-trend-in-the-housing-industry-is-signalling-a-recovery-2011-12#ixzz1ftxltYch

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