In an interview with the San Diego Union-Tribune, Michael Lea, director of the Corky McMillin Center for Real Estate at San Diego State University, says he is encouraging students to study real estate because we are at the bottom of a cycle. By the time these students have graduated, he believes the industry will have recovered.

I don't think we'll ever again see the 2005-2007 heyday in real estate. That was an anomaly, and actually, I hope we don't go back to that. But within real estate, there are a lot of opportunities, such as property management and lending, he says.

Lea sees apartments as a particularly bright spot.

I think as more people realize that homeownership is not quite what it was cracked up to be, we're not going to have marginal people buying homes any more, he says. That's ultimately going to mean more people going back to the rental sector. We're growing as a population, and people have to live somewhere, so I think the rental market is in relatively good shape and will strengthen as we go forward.

Lea predicted that this kind of out-of-control real estate cycle might even happen again.

Real estate is an industry that is populated by inveterate optimists, and I think lenders have a herd mentality. If you get lenders seeing good times again, the herd is going to follow them, Lea said.

Source: San Diego Union-Tribune, Roger Showley