Q. Is there any evidence we've hit bottom and that the market is beginning to recover?
A. It's possible to tell how far we've fallen, but whether we've hit bottom is something we'll only know after the fact.
According to the National Association of Realtors, "Sales of existing-home sales rose in March, continuing an uneven recovery that began after sales bottomed last July." That is, the annual rate of sales was 5.10 million units in March versus 4.92 million units in February.
But is this really an increase? There were 28 days in February -- an average of 175,714 sales per day. In March, with 31 days, the average was 164,516 units. Sales in March 2011 were 6.3 percent below March 2010.
The Federal Housing Finance Agency reports that home prices in February were 18.6 percent below the peak in April 2007. Essentially, home prices are where they were in February 2004.
Lastly, figures from the Federal Reserve show that the value of U.S. homes stood at $22.7 trillion in 2006 -- a value that fell to $16.4 trillion in the fourth quarter of 2010.
Meanwhile, the real estate research firm REIS Inc. reports that in 2010 and into the first quarter of 2011, apartment rents in major metro areas were rising while vacancies fell.
So, no, as this is written, the question of whether we've hit bottom is unclear.
• Email Peter G. Miller at firstname.lastname@example.org.