Shaun Donovan, secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, says housing is more affordable than it has been in generations, making it a great time to buy a home. According to Donovan, the severity of the housing crisis means a complete recovery will require more time, but home sales have increased in six of the past nine months while defaults and foreclosures declined. Absorbing excess inventory will relieve pressure on prices and, Donovan expects, values could climb as soon as the third quarter of this year. He told CNN that it’s very unlikely prices will suffer a significant further decline and there could be sustainable increases as soon as this fall. More here and here.