The real estate market remains a question mark after the Standard & Poor's/ Case Shiller home price index reported annual losses in every top metropolitan area. This, along with the 66,000 job cuts that hit the financial sector through May, brought the experts to CNBC's Squawk Box to discuss the national real estate picture.
Manhattan: Still a Good Buy
The Manhattan market is "holding steady," and it's not just because of European investors buying into it with the euro, Ramirez said. Many Wall Streeters are riding out the economic slump, and the market is seeing buyers at all levels.
Most housing in Manhattan has yet to fall below $1 million, and while the down payment requirement has changed, there are still mortgages to be found. "Twenty-five percent is the old 10 percent," she said.
And fluctuations in mortgage rates aren't moving the market much.
"We have not over-lent and we have not over-borrowed, and clearly we have not over-built," she said. (For more, see above video.)
Ramirez doesn't predict a continued drop in Manhattan pricing in the next year because there will not be a flood of apartments on the market, she said. Although inventories are sharply higher than last year, they are up from what was an "unhealthy low."
— Diane Ramirez, president ofHalstead Property
A Long-Term Investment
There are still successful investments to be made all over the country, Katz said, specifically in Phoenix, Tampa, Ann Arbor and New York.
"We're finding places where people have to sell because the mortgage is coming due, and they can't find replacement," he said.
Real estate is a long term investment, and it's a healthy business — occupancy is good, there is not overbuiding — it's just financing that is difficult, according to Katz.
"We're holding onto the existing properties that we have until the market turns around, " he said. "It is a healthy business at the moment, and once the financial markets correct themselves, I think it'll go back to where it was."
— Michael Katz, co-chief executive officers of Sterling American Property
Real Estate 101
Real estate has been and will continue to be a simple business of supply and demand, Peebles said.
"Markets that have an oversupply and a waning demand are in trouble. Markets that have an undersupply, like New York City, with a still-strong demand will continue to do well," he said.
Real estate is also a local and regional business, meaning it can be a good idea to buy in some areas but sit still in others, Peebles said. Places where more properties are being sold and inventories are declining, such as Miami and Las Vegas, are in trouble, and Miami is likely to bottom out between six months and a year, he said.
"I'd be buying in Miami in the next six months to nine months," he said.
Buying into Manhattan, the "safest market in the U.S.", is also a good idea, because it will always bounce back, Peebles said. "The time to buy in Manhattan is when there is uncertainty and panic." (See video above)
—Don Peebles, CEO chairman of the Peebles Corporation
More Work to be Done
We're in a post-bubble bursting environment, and lending standards are tighter than they were back in the 1990s, Sonders said.
"The Fed can lower the cost of money all at once — It can't do anything about its availability," she said.
With fixed mortgage rates up, inventories at a higher level than ever before and the accelerating rate of home price depreciation, "There's still a lot in the system that has yet to be fixed."
— Liz Ann Sonders, senior vice president at Charles Schwab