At the most basic level, why on earth would we expect house prices to rise? Has the NYT still not noticed the housing bubble? There was no logic to the run-up in house prices over the years 1996-2006.
This run-up was a break from a 100 year history in which nationwide house prices had just tracked the overall rate of inflation. There was nothing in the fundamentals to support this run-up as was demonstrated by the fact that rents only slightly outpaced inflation in the first half of this period and not at all in the second half.