The current housing downturn isn't over and is "much much worse" than past downturns, says Barbara Corcoran, who built The Corcoran Group into a multi-billion firm during the real estate busts of the mid-1970s, 1980s and early 1990s.
This downturn is "grossly different" than those past cycles because homeowners are much more willing to "walk away" from homes, says Corcoran, who sold her namesake firm in 2001 for a reported $66 million and is now an author and widely cited real estate guru.
Just a few foreclosures - which Treasury Secretary Paulson says are unavoidable - can "put a pall on an entire neighborhood" by putting downward pressure on all local prices, she says.
The good news is that there's a "Macy's Day sale" in housing right now and buyers are starting to step in. But there aren't enough "brave souls" to stem the decline which Corcoran says will take prices down another 5%-to-10% nationally and end next Spring - in a best case scenario.