Housing prices will stop sinking next spring. But recovery will be a  gradual process — too slow to help the economy much next year. Look for prices,  which have fallen an average of 31% since 2006, to drop an additional 2% or so  in the early months of 2012 and then recover that lost ground by the end of the  year.

The growth in 2013 won’t be dramatic Come 2013, expect home prices to rise  only 3% to 4% — not too far from the pre-boom average of 4.8% a year, but well  short of the bounce that usually follows a housing slump. After the milder  housing downturn in the early 1980s, home prices grew an average of 6.5% for six  years.