The longer-term housing outlook remains clouded, with a large inventory of foreclosed homes expected to hit the market later this year…Bank efforts to work out lower loan payments for some borrowers have delayed millions of foreclosures, but those who don’t qualify are now increasingly losing their homes. Moody’s predicts that 1.9 million homes will be lost to foreclosures or related defaults this year and another 1.1 million in 2011. That compares with two million last year and 600,000 in normal times,

Tax credits sparked a big jump in home sales last month, as first-time buyers took advantage of low prices and interest rates. Though they’re providing a temporary boost, "we’re still in a very fragile housing market," said Ivy Zelman, chief executive of Zelman & Associates, a research firm, who doesn’t expect a full recovery before 2013.Sales of single-family homes and condominiums hit a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.35 million in March, the National Association of Realtors reported Thursday. That compares with a 5.01 million rate in February and was up 16% from the depressed March 2009 rate of 4.61 million.

By James R. Hagerty, April 22, 2010 WSJ

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