Real estate: time to buy?

Should I buy real estate now – now that the market is down or wait for it to get lower? This is a question that everybody seems to be asking. Frankly I do not know.
A classmate (Prakash) and I have been having a disagreement about the direction of the housing market.
He calls real estate “the investment of the century.” I think it’s more likely to be “the regret of the next 10-12 months.” Of course anything that I say should be taken with a pinch of salt – after all Oscar Wilde said “predicting is difficult especially if it is about the future”.
Prakash thinks housing prices are about to go up. I say rebounds (in the price of anything) only come off a genuine bottom. And, despite the drop in some areas, we still haven’t seen a bottom in home prices. India does not have a very transparent real estate market neither an index which measures real estate price movements. So fall, rise are all guesses!
However DLF, Unitech, HDIL have all dropped prices and are doing deals. However the once great Mumbai builders – Raheja, Lokhandwala, Hiranandani, etc. refuse to drop prices – but negotiate privately.
That is not the fall from “the top” but just in the first quarter from a year ago. Moreover, the plunge is picking up speed.

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