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June 25, 2012

Still Depressed, After All These Years

With Europe suffering under self-destructive austerity and the United States facing its own prospect of punishing budget cuts, it is easy to forget that the housing bust has been the biggest drag on the economy over the past five years. Even with recent housing market improvements, sales and construction are still at very low levels, while prices are still falling in most areas.

Worse, those signs of improvement may not be sustainable. One reason is that millions of foreclosures were delayed from late 2010 until this year, as banks wrangled — and eventually settled — with government officials over foreclosure abuses. With the legal issues now out of the way, foreclosures have resumed, with another five million expected between now and 2015, in addition to more than five million homes already lost, according to Moody’s Analytics.

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