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by CareyBot

Editor's note: How bad will the real estate market get before it gets better? Inman News compiles the facts and analysis in this five-part series. (Read Part 1, "The housing market: How bad will it get?" Part 2, "Vendors cope with real estate downturn"; Part 3, "Market forces, regulators threaten credit crunch"; and Part 5, "Diminished role for GSEs, FHA.") While lawmakers and regulators are still pondering whether to take more drastic steps to rein in lenders, market forces have already tightened underwriting practices. Worries about the performance of securities backed by subprime loans could also restrict the flow of investment capital into mortgage lending, raising the cost of borrowing. On July 12, Standard & Poor's downgraded $6.39 billion in mortgage-backed securities backed by...