Mainstream media's heart-on-her-sleeve housing correspondent Diana Olick has been reporting the trends, the data, the indicators, the head fakes and the head winds of 2010 as zealously as any journalist might. At the end of the day, at the end of the year, all she can do is what the rest of housing's most honest observers can do, which is to throw up her hands and say "who knows?" The X factor in the look-ahead from now to recovery is none other than the economy's version of mystery meat--consumer confidence. When consumers start showing up at the model homes and plunk down deposits that say "now is the time," recovery will have begun. Until then, it's just a vicious circle of supply and demand trend watching.

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