Recovery in the housing market, and the economy at large, is dependent on what the government does — and doesn't do — to influence the recuperation, according to a panel of economic observers at a real estate conference in New York.

"It's hard to be wildly optimistic, but there are some encouraging signs. From where we've been everything looks up," said Joel Singer, CEO of the California Association of Realtors. "We'd be kidding ourselves to think the market will turn and look like it did four or five years ago, but there is long-term opportunity."

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