(Source: NASDAQ by Roger S. Conrad) – The Great Recession officially ended about two years ago, but the  U.S. housing market remains in shambles. According to real-estate information provider Zillow ( Z ), more than 28 percent of  U.S. households with mortgages in the first quarter owed more than their homes were worth. Home prices in the nation’s 20 largest cities are also down an average of 33 percent from their July 2006 peak. With homeowners in such a tenuous situation, any dip in the economy increases the likelihood of defaults and foreclosures, exerting additional downward pressure on home prices.Overbuilding in formerly red-hot markets such as Arizona, Florida and Georgia contributed to the disaster, but lax underwriting in a benign credit environment was the biggest contributor to the boom and bust. On the supply side, many local housing markets face a massive overhang of foreclosures or distressed sales. Meanwhile, elevated unemployment rates and stricter lending requirements have thinned the ranks of willing and eligible buyers.

Source: NASDAQ by Roger S. Conrad

Posted 8/24/2011 12:03 PM

To read more, click on this link