Also coming into balance, though not there quite yet, is the ratio of home prices to rents. The lower the ratio, the more people are likely to buy a home than rent one. Mr. Zandi estimates that this ratio dropped to 20.02 in the second quarter from a high of 24.90 during the boom. The average ratio from 1985 to 2002 was 14.44. "If you just look at affordability indices, we would say we are probably close to a bottom," says Ivy Zelman, a housing and homebuilding analyst. "But these are not normal times."
FWIW, I am in the middle of buying a house in Pasadena (when it is a done deal, I will write a little history of the transaction). It is because owning looks like a very fair deal relative to renting; also, LA is likely the place we will live for the next 20+ years, so short term house price fluctuations don't mean much to us.