Lewis Ranieri says we're within "shouting distance" of the bottom of the housing market.

Really? Ranieri's the guy who pioneered securitization: the bundling of credit card debt, home loans, auto loans, you name it, into bonds. He told attendees at the Milken Institute Global Conference today that the slump in housing has created some great buying opportunities, and made it easier for middle class Americans to by a house.

Not everyone's quite as bullish as Ranieri (now a private equity fund manager). Donald Brownstein of Structured Portfolio Management noted it's a question of when the economy might turn around, and how. He said forecasts predict an uptick in the housing market in the next few years.

Is that shouting distance? I guess it depends on how loud your voice is.

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