Is the worst over for South Florida housing market?

Is the South Florida housing market finally touching bottom? The answer, of course, can only be seen in the rearview mirror, but analysts agree that the most terrifying part of the downward slide is behind us.

New monthly figures from the Florida Association of Realtors show sales of existing homes and condos continued to post gains in May, the ninth consecutive month-to-month increase and a strong step in the right direction. Although sale prices are still way down from last year's numbers, monthly declines appear to be stabilizing.

''If you look at the yardstick of housing sales, which is a typical yardstick, we are in the recovery stage and we're in the bottoming phases on pricing,'' said Coral Gables-based real estate analyst David Dabby.

The market remains mired in a swamp of foreclosures and short-sales, however, and as long as there are still a sizable number of these distressed sales, it will continue to depress prices. As job losses mount and more homeowners enter foreclosure, such properties could continue to pour into the market.

Still, distressed sales are driving market activity.

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