(MONEY Magazine) -- It was with some trepidation that Stephanie Kim and her husband, Brendan, 40 and 42, put their Chicago townhouse on the market in June. While the place was in great shape, prices in their city were off 8% from 2010 -- and of the 30 similar homes in the area listed the previous year, only nine had sold.
And yet there was an offer on the house almost immediately; the sale closed two months later at just $15,000 under the $650,000 asking price. "We thought it would take a lot longer to sell," says Stephanie.
Nationwide, the U.S. housing market remains deep in the doldrums and economists expect prices to fall another 5% to 10% in many places. And yet some sellers, like the Kims, are seeing signs of a turnaround.
In a few of the hardest-hit areas, such as Detroit, homes have become so cheap that it no longer makes sense to rent.
In other places, like Los Angeles, price drops haven't stopped, but they've slowed, and homes are selling faster. Plus, even if your area is still hurting, your neighborhood might be on its way back.
When the rebound arrives, desirable zip codes will see price jumps first, says David Stiff, chief economist for housing research firm Fiserv Case-Shiller. "Real estate is always local, but these days it's hyperlocal," says Chicago broker Scott Berg.
To estimate where your own house lies on the recovery spectrum, answer the following questions.
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