The one good piece of news from the research was the foreclosure problem eased slightly in the last quarter of 2010. "Foreclosure filings were reported on 799,064 U.S. properties in the fourth quarter, a 14% decrease from the previous quarter and an 8% decrease from the fourth quarter of 2009. The fourth quarter total was the lowest quarterly total since Q4 2008."
Many analysts believe that housing cannot recover in markets where unemployment is above 10%. Low interest rates on mortgages have not aided home sales, at least not in a measurable way. Government's attempt to rectify the situations have had mixed success. Tax credits, offered early in the year, boosted buying activity, but those benefits expired in April. The Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP), meant to refinance mortgages to keep people in their homes, was simply a failure.
Another problem that faces the housing recovery is that many potential home buyers believe that prices could go even lower. S&P forecast that home prices could drop another 7% to 10% this year.
James J. Saccacio, chief executive officer of RealtyTrac, offered little hope for the beginning of 2011. He said "many of the foreclosure proceedings that were stopped in late 2010 -- which we estimate may be as high as a quarter million -- will likely be re-started and add to the numbers in early 2011."