Soft housing demand imperils recovery

Harvard report optimistic about long-term outlook

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Demographic terms bode well for the long-term health of housing markets, but the near term is fraught with uncertainty, according to a "State of the Nation’s Housing" report released today by the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University.

With the economy finally adding jobs this spring and house prices down dramatically, "two essential conditions for a sustained recovery in single-family starts and sales had fallen into place," the report said.

But it remains to be seen whether home sales will weather the expiration of the federal homebuyer tax credit, the report said …