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Where is the Sacramento-area housing market going?

There are big years when the bottom drops out, the unimaginable occurs and minds reel from it all. That was 2008.

So farewell to a year that jointly shredded our home values and our 401(k) accounts. So long to its economic free fall that pushed 19,000 area homes into foreclosure from January through October.

Home builders went bankrupt, calling 2008 the worst year in half a century. Banks failed, dying of unpaid mortgages.

And yet:

• Existing-home sales exploded across the capital region and California. Repo prices reset the clock to 2002.



• The number of for-sale signs fell dramatically as buyers scooped up the excess.



"From a buyer's perspective it's been a great year. A tremendous success," said Ruben Ramos, owner of a real estate company in Marysville.

So what now for 2009? The Bee recently gathered four housing market watchers to assess the departing year in real estate and see where we're going.

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