August 2009, Danilo Pelletiere, Hye Jin Rho, and Dean Baker

It has been two years since the housing bubble began to deflate. In this time, home prices in major metropolitan areas have fallen more than 32.3 percent and the woes in the housing sector have spread to the broader economy. Where is the housing market today? Have we hit bottom?

This paper, written by researchers from CEPR and the National Low Income Housing Coalition, finds that while most of the nation’s metropolitan housing bubbles have deflated and many markets never had one to contend with, there is the possibility of a persistent housing slump in the years ahead. An appropriate response to this situation involves 1) stimulating demand for housing by acting to lower unemployment and raise wages, 2) recognizing a leading role for rental housing in federal foreclosure mitigation and neighborhood stabilization policy, including allowing foreclosed homeowners to remain in their homes as renters (Right to Rent), and 3) adequately funding the National Housing Trust Fund.

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