I'm thinking of jumping back into real estate as an investment. The situation is far from stable, but at some point a shortage of existing housing should drive up prices. ~20 years ago, my wife and I bought a house in a completely built-up neighborhood with nice houses. We bought from a couple of teachers that had accepted jobs in a coastal town, for what was then a very nice price of $60K. 5 years ago, we could see economic turmoil on the way, so we downsized drastically to a small log house and put our big place on the market. After about 9 months on the market, it sold for ~$120K. The people that bought the place defaulted on the mortgage and lost it to the bank. The bank is pretty desperate to move the place, and listed it with a realtor for $81K, recently reduced to $71K. I'm thinking of making them a low-ball offer, and sitting on the place until housing prices turn around. The problem is that I could clearly see a housing collapse coming 5 years ago, but I don't see any signs of a dramatic recovery. Jobs are evaporating, wages are stagnant, and manufacturing plants in the area (pulp and paper and others) are curtailing activities and taking downtime to avoid building inventory. There are real bargains out there for people who need housing and can make payments, but buying as an investment... Hmm. Anybody see any leading indicators that might signal an up-tick, or is it just wishful thinking that I might make money (again) on that property?