Sam Zell, the billionaire investor who made his fortune in real estate, told Bloomberg News yesterday that he expects the U.S. housing market to start recovering at the end of 2010 and strengthen in the middle of 2011.

Zell, who according to the Forbes' tally is the 237th richest person in the world, said, Conditions are getting better, but there's a lot of uncertainty. The real question is: Can confidence return enough so that what you call the green shoots can continue forward?

Zell said he expects more turmoil in the commercial real estate business, pointing toward General Growth Properties Inc., the mall owner that is fighting a takeover, as an example.