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The New Landscape of the Housing Crisis

The housing crisis that made headlines during the Great Recession is proving far more persistent than the common narrative about over-priced coastal market allows. A new report by the Center for American Progress uncovers the facts on the ground.
November 3, 2015, 5am PST | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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According to an article by Alana Semuels, "while the national housing market may be well on the way to recovery, the markets in some areas of the country are actually getting worse, according to a new report out from the Center for American Progress."

The key findings: some 7.5 million people owe more than their homes are worth. Semuels is careful to note the negative consequences of these underwater mortgages. "In some 1,000 counties, the number of underwater homes is stagnant or increasing, threatening already struggling regions with the potential of more foreclosures, more empty and abandoned homes, and more people who opt to rent instead of buy, which drives up the price of apartments."

Nationwide, about 15 percent of homeowners are underwater, which compares well to the 30 percent of homeowners underwater in 2011. But relative to the 4-5 percent of homeowners underwater in the late 1990s, the market currently resembles a crisis more than a recovery. Semuels notes that while the front lines of the foreclosure crisis concentrated in California, Florida, and Nevada, the report locates the problem in 2015 in "the South, upstate New York, and rural areas of Wisconsin…"

The article provides more details about conditions of the homeownership market in troubled counties, as well as more details about the consequences of underwater mortgages for individuals and communities. Also included are some of the report's recommendations for policies that could help stabilize the market.

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Published on Monday, November 2, 2015 in The Atlantic
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