Wall Street shakeout clouds housing picture

Lower rates could be boon if economy doesn't falter

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Turmoil on Wall Street could mean lower interest rates for home buyers, but any benefit for housing markets could be outweighed by higher unemployment and a prolonged recession if the credit crunch becomes an even greater drag on the economy.

Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. today filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, and Bank of America announced a $50 billion deal to acquire another troubled investment bank, Merrill Lynch.