CHICAGO-In what’s becoming a recurring theme, the majority of respondents to the 2010 DLA Piper “State of the Market” survey, about 60%, said they believe that the real estate markets will hit bottom this year. More than 300 top executives in the real estate industry responded to the April survey, and the full results will be released at the company’s 2010 Global Real Estate Summit in Chicago on Tuesday.

That “hit bottom” theme has competition, however, with “At least it’s not 2009,” a phrase in nearly every industry player today. About 40% of the survey respondents said they are “bullish” on the market today, up from only 10% when the survey was last done in September 2008.

Jay Epstien, partner and chairman of the company’s US Real Estate Group, tells that now is the time for the economy to start unfettered growth. “I don’t think we’re out of the woods yet,” he says. “There’s lots of good things that have happened in the past quarter. I think everyone believes that the economy will come back, but slowly, and only with the return of jobs.”

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