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Here's a graph showing private residential investment [PRI] as a percentage of GDP. It's a good gauge of how well the real estate market is doing.

The number averages about 4.7%, with a standard deviation of about 0.7%. Last year, it got up to 6.3% which was the highest level in over 50 years.

Since then, it's started to plunge. And as you can see, historically, the downtrends are pretty severe.

PRI as a % of GDP

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PRI as a % of GDP

Source: Real Estate Gauge: Private Residential Investment as a Percentage of GDP