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The Forgotten Foreclosure Crisis

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  • Without more intervention, the housing market will continue its 'slow motion' adjustment that will continue to inhibit economic growth and drag down consumer spending.
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  • Foreclosures Rise with Unemployment
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Think Progress

The economic meltdown of 2008 grew out of a foreclosure crisis, as Wall Street banks drove lenders to make loans that were then securitized and sold around the world, in an unregulated slew of credit products. This inflated a housing bubble that, when it burst, severely damaged an already weak economy, sent millions of homeowners into foreclosure, and put millions more out of work, leading to even more foreclosures as unemployed workers began to miss mortgage payments. Many homeowners who were able to stay in their homes now find themselves underwater -- owing more on their mortgage than their home is currently worth.

But so far, the foreclosure prevention efforts undertaken by Congress and the Obama administration, while well-intentioned, have failed to produce widespread results. This not only hurts homeowners but undermines economic recovery. Proposals for a variety of more aggressive, and potentially more effective, measures have so far not been taken up, as the programs unveiled have often lagged behind the heart of the problem. According to analysts at Morgan Stanley, "Without more intervention, the housing market will continue its 'slow motion' adjustment that will continue to inhibit economic growth and drag down consumer spending." "It's certainly a weight on the economy," said Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody's Economy.com. "Nothing works all that well in the economy when house prices are falling."

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