While there have been many good signs for the market as 2012 begins, the end of 2011 saw a drop in home prices– another fall in a six-year down turn for the market.  Across the country, housing inventory has dropped, making competition among sellers even more intense; a large number of foreclosures haunt metropolitan areas.  Experts say it will still take a number of years for things to turn around, which isn’t very good news for homeowners stuck in debt.  Other experts are optimistic, fueled by the fact that there is more new construction.  Yet, buyers and sellers are hesitant to take part in transactions: many are afraid of being stuck with a mortgage payment or having to sell for less than what they believe their house is worth.