Earlier this year, as many as half of all transactions nationally were resales of foreclosed properties, largely at low prices. Since then, so-called organic sales (those not involving distressed properties) have risen while foreclosure sales have remained stable. This improved mix — together with cheap financing and a couple of popular tax incentives — helped to revive prices in some hard-hit areas. ... But with schools opening up again and the summer home-selling season winding down, sales by nondistressed sellers are likely to fall in coming months...Here's a self-serving, tax-dollar wasting idea I wouldn't complain too much about, because it would increase the housing supply, thus pushing equilibrium prices down further:
Adding to the pressure on prices, the end is in sight (or already here) for some popular housing subsidies. An $8,000 federal tax credit for first-time home buyers is due to sunset in December. A $10,000 California tax credit for buyers of newly constructed houses expired last month.
Another concern is that the housing woes appear to be spreading well beyond the questionable borrowers who were at the center of the first stage of the financial crisis. ... Prime fixed-rate mortgages now account for about a third of foreclosure starts, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. ...
The pace of foreclosures could soon accelerate as mortgage servicers catch up on foreclosures they have delayed while grappling with new mortgage modification guidelines.
[Toll Brothers CEO Robert] Toll argued that a four-month program that offered people $15,000 vouchers for new home construction could "put twice as many people to work, twice as fast as what's being done with the auto industry."