Housing's knee-deep in it, but we knew that already. Permits are down. Starts are off. Completions are depleted. This is the worst housing situation in decades. So what's a homeowner to do?

Smile! Break out the hammer and nails! It's party time!

OK, perhaps an explanation is in order. Because housing is horrendous, that means that if you want to buy a home these days, prices are cheap and getting cheaper. This is probably the best time in a while to buy a house. While that sounds like a promo from the National Association of Realtors, it also misses a couple of points.

First, if prices are falling and will keep falling, then why buy today? Why not just wait till next week or next month, and prices will be even cheaper? D.R. Horton (NYSE:DHI) acknowledges that 2008 is going to be even worse than 2007. "There is no way to predict when this thing will bottom," said Timothy Eller, the CEO of Centex (NYSE:CTX).

Second, assuming you don't want to wait, could you get the financing to buy a house? Banks have tightened the screws at last on their leaky lending ways, and getting a new mortgage might be possible only for those with the highest credit scores, pristine histories, and a wad of cash to use as a down payment.

Yet homeowners can take solace in the industry's doom and gloom. Thinking of remodeling the den? Contractors have lots of time on their hands these days and are willing to take on jobs they previously would have passed on. They'll charge less for it, too.

You'll also find that supplies for your projects are cheaper. As prices for plywood and oriented strand board (OSB) soared during the boom years -- OSB, for example, topped $400 per thousand square feet -- builders were turning to alternatives like structural intermediate blackboard, although it caused heads to turn at all the black-clad houses. Now, though, prices are tumbling. That pricey OSB was below $250 in June. Framing lumber is off 24%, according to the National Association of Home Builders, and USG (NYSE:USG) says drywall prices are off 35% from last year.

Those factors could very well mark an upturn for retailers like Home Depot (NYSE:HD) and Lowe's (NYSE:LOW), which recently reported sharply lower third-quarter sales and profits. Considering Home Depot accounted for approximately 11% of USG's sales in 2006, cheaper prices may translate into more sales.

The bursting of the housing bubble has been grim indeed, but it's no reason we can't find some reason to celebrate.

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