In the world's economy today, we are all one. What happens in Japan happens in Germany and the USA too.
If the experience of Japan is relevant to the US, then it is likley that property values will continue to fall for several years.
Here is how the Global Property Guide puts it in 2009 [http://www.globalpropertyguide.com/Asia/Japan/Price-History]:
"In Japan, land prices serve as a proxy for home prices..... Land prices are used as a measure of residential property values partly because Japan is earthquake-prone, making the value of land more significant than the houses built on them.
On a national level the price of land has been falling since H2 1991. Since the second half of 2007, land price decreases in Japan have accelerated. Land prices slid 3.4% (4.9% in real terms) in H1 2009 from the previous year."
See also: http://www.imes.boj.or.jp/english/publication/edps/2003/03-E-15.pdf, a Bank of Japan study of Japan's asset values by Shigenori Shiratsuka* in 2003, especially graph of falling land values on page 20.
If the whole economy is based on property values, then we in the USA face a long term decline. I think that the economy is based on property values.
Our reaction to the housing crisis has been to make it more difficult to borrow on houses. While this reaction has been well intentioned in order to overcome past exuberant and fraudulent practices, we face a continuing property value decline until lending practices are made easier.
Think about it, Barry, the only thing that will turn around the housing price decline is to make borrowing easier.
Y'all know I am NOT saying we go back to 2003, but we stuck in misery until borrowing gets easier.
And, Barry, ya just gotta make them banks focus on lending and get out of the stock market. Holy cow, this is not rocket science here.