If you had told me five years ago that in 2012 real estate prices would be down by a third and mortgages would be scraping the 3 percent mark, I’d have thought you were nuts. If you had said that no one would be buying, I’d have known you were nuts. But that’s exactly where we find ourselves, and we’ve been here long enough to understand the factors involved: excess inventory (still), banks hesitant to lend, economic uncertainty, unemployment. Less clear are the long-term effects on attitudes toward home ownership, especially among potential first-home buyers, who watched the generation ahead of them walk off a cliff. How long will it take—or how far will the cost of home ownership have to fall—to restore their confidence? --bds