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Distressed real estate: the pig in the room

Commentary: We need a quicker way to clear out inventory

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Markets reversed this week, with stocks and rates both rising fast. The immediate cause: Greece is back from the brink. But not for long. Deeper causes: Last week stocks stared at the darkness below 1,256 points, a bottom that has held since last Halloween, and have run up to 1,331 points on the bodies of short-sellers forced to cover. The 10-year Treasury note bottomed at 2.91 percent last week after a straight-line drop from 3.6 percent on April 12. This week's bolt to 3.2 percent was overdue; ditto mortgages to 4.875 percent. The coup de grace: the June Institute for Supply Management index rose to 55.3, beating forecast. With Europe on hold again, interest rates will not decline unless the U.S. economy does, and until it becomes clear who will buy $120 billion in net-new Treasurys each month now that the Fed has stopped QE2, its latest quantitative easing program. The newest housing data has showed signs of a bottom in price, delinquency and sales volume. However, thre...