Pani sent in this link to an International Money Fund research department write-up on falling house prices in advanced economies and their impact on the macroeconomy. There are some interesting global stats on housing market cycles there:
Between 1970 and 2005, the average house price cycle in advanced countries lasted about ten years, with an expansion phase of six years during which real house prices increased by about 45 percent. During the subsequent four-year contraction phase, real house prices declined about 25 percent, with the range of declines across countries varying from about 10 percent in the United States to over 30 percent in Japan and several European countries.
Of course the question is how much is the current contraction phase like the average? And housing cycle contractions don’t always occur during recessions or credit market contractions.
Evidence suggests, not surprisingly, that the macroeconomic consequences are more adverse if they occur against the context of a weakening economy and tight credit conditions, which is likely to be the situation facing many countries at present.
Over the period 1960 to the present, recessions in advanced countries that are associated with house price busts and credit crunches are slightly longer and deeper than other recessions. The duration of a recession is more than one quarter longer in the case of a housing bust, total output loss during the recession is somewhat higher, and the unemployment rate increases notably more and for longer in recessions with housing busts.
According to the IMF research, when a housing bust happens during a recession it can double unemployment rates compared to a housing bust that occurs without a recession.