House prices in much of the US will bottom out in this year's fourth quarter, Moody's says in a new report.

In some of the hardest hit markets, however, prices won't reach a bottom until 2010 or 2011, the research firm says in a report by its chief economist, Mark Zandi.

'Despite the darkening national economic outlook and the weak conditions in the housing market, some positive signs give hope that a bottom in the housing market is coming into view,' the report says.

It cites signs that home sales are stabilizing as people snap up bargains on foreclosures, a decline in the supply of unsold homes in many areas and expectations of moves by the Obama administration 'that will help place a floor under the housing downturn.' Those measures could include lowering mortgage rates further, preventing more foreclosures and generating jobs through higher federal spending.

Wall Street Journal