Armageddon for Home-Owners? 12 Facts That Show We're in the Midst of the Worst Housing Collapse in US History
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We are officially in the middle of the worst housing collapse in U.S. history - and unfortunately it is going to get even worse. Already, U.S. housing prices have fallen further during this economic downturn (26 percent), then they did during the Great Depression (25.9 percent). Approximately 11 percent of all homes in the United States are currently standing empty. In fact, there are many new housing developments across the U.S. that resemble little more than ghost towns because foreclosures have wiped them out. Mortgage delinquencies and foreclosures reached new highs in 2010, and it is being projected that banks and financial institutions will repossess at least a million more U.S. homes during 2011. Meanwhile, unemployment is absolutely rampant and wage levels are going down at a time when mortgage lending standards have been significantly tightened. That means that there are very few qualified buyers running around out there and that is going to continue to be the case for quite some time to come. When you add all of those factors up, it leads to one inescapable conclusion. The "housing Armageddon" that we have been experiencing since 2007 is going to get even worse in 2011.
Right now there is a gigantic mountain of unsold homes in the United States. It is estimated that banks and financial institutions will repossess at least a million more homes this year and this will make the supply of unsold properties even worse. At the same time, millions of American families have been scared out of the market by this recent crisis and millions of others cannot qualify for a home loan any longer. That means that the demand for unsold homes is at extremely low levels.
So what happens when supply is really high and demand is really low?
That's right - prices go down.
Hopefully housing prices don't have too much farther to go down. Ben Bernanke and the boys over at the Federal Reserve are doing their best to flood the system with new dollars in order to prop up asset values, but you just can't create qualified home buyers out of thin air.
Many analysts are projecting that U.S. housing prices will decline another ten or twenty percent before they hit bottom. In fact, quite a few economists believe that the total price decline from the peak of the market in 2006 will end up being somewhere in the neighborhood of 40 percent.
But whether prices go down any further or not, the truth is that the housing crash that we have already witnessed is absolutely unprecedented.
The following are 12 facts which show that we are in the midst of the worst housing collapse in U.S. history....
#1 Approximately 11 percent of all homes in the United States are currently standing empty.
#2 The rate of home ownership in the United States has dropped like a rock. At this point it has fallen all the way back to 1998 levels.
#3 According to the S&P/Case-Shiller index, U.S. home prices fell 1.3 percent in October and another 1 percent in November. In fact, November represented the fourth monthly decline in a row for U.S. housing prices. Many economists are now openly using the term "double-dip" to describe what is happening to the housing market.
#4 The number of homes that were actually repossessed reached the 1 million mark for the first time ever during 2010.
#5 According to RealtyTrac, a total of 3 million homes were repossessed by mortgage lenders between January 2007 and August 2010. This represents a huge amount of additional inventory that somehow must be sold.