Shadow Troubles

1.7 Million Homes Headed for Sale

The housing crisis may not be over. According to the Los Angeles Times, 1.7 million homes headed for sale due to foreclosure or delinquency and could dampen progress toward the recovery of the housing market. A variety of measures, including moratoriums on foreclosures by major lenders and federal initiatives to help keep people in their houses with affordable mortgage payments, has increased the so-called shadow market of properties that are not included in official tallies by 55 percent over the previous year. It's unclear what effect these properties will have on the market if lenders sell them in 2010. It's possible that lenders concerned with potential losses will slow the rate of repossessions to avoid depressing the market, or that government efforts might not be able to keep pace with defaults caused by unemployment and depressed home values. As a senior economist for First American put it, "Our forecast is that [home] prices will drop."