Also, bargain-hunting speculators appear to be tiptoeing back into the market, which could be a sign that they think the bottom is near, he said.
"It's too early to tell, but it could be a sign bottom-fishers are coming back into the market," Krueger said. "It could be the silver lining we have not seen in a long time."
But recovery won't be quick. When prices do find their low point, they will follow the historical pattern and "drag along the bottom for a while before they go up," Karevoll said.
That would be bad news for anyone who recently purchased a home and has been hoping to sell at a profit.
But a cyclical downturn doesn't concern Richard Schmidt, a music-industry marketing executive who bought a four-bedroom house in the Country Club Park section of Los Angeles in 2003.
Schmidt, 52, says he thinks his house is still worth more than what he paid for it -- less than $700,000.
Even if it falls below that price, however, Schmidt says it won't matter to him because he and his wife don't plan to leave for at least 10 years. By then, they expect the younger of their two sons to be out of college.
Schmidt and wife Kathi Sweet rode out the early-1990s real estate crash. They bought a house near the top of the market in 1991 and then saw prices around them plummet.
But they didn't sell that place until 2003, when it was snapped up in a week, and for more than the asking price.
"It's a cycle," Schmidt said. "It goes up, it goes down. But we're in for a long time. It's not an up-or-down thing for us."