NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Yes, home prices have rebounded nicely from the depths of the recession, but in many major markets it could take three or more years to get back to the peak prices of 2007.
That presents the owner who wants to move with some tough choices. But selling now, at a loss, is not necessarily the bad move it looks like at first glance.
The new home-price assessment from Zillow.com says prices in half the nation's largest markets will not get back to pre-recession prices "for another three-plus years." One reason is that as markets slowly return to normal, prices gains have slowed from the double-digit levels of some recent years.
Nationwide, prices rose 6.3% over the most recent 12-month period, still a healthy clip by historical standards. But the pace is expected to slow to 4.2% by early next year. Zillow expects the average home nationwide to hit its pre-recession peak in 2.7 years, but that it will take longer in half the metro areas.
Some will take a lot longer -- including Minneapolis-St. Paul, where the break-even is projected for 2028, another 14.5 years, or Kansas City, Mo., at 12.5 years. The situation looks even worse if inflation is factored in, because returning to the peak price still means missing out on all the gains that could have been realized since 2007 if the housing crash had not occurred.
You could argue, of course, that those peak prices were the results of a bubble, and were therefore unjustified. That may be reassuring to people who bought well before the bubble and realized the peak prices were outlandish, but it's not much solace for anyone who bought when prices were in the stratosphere.