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Harvard: Hints of a subdued recovery in 2012

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Despite lagging job growth, demographic trends point to an increase in housing demand and the long-awaited beginning of a recovery, researchers with the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University concluded in their latest annual "State of the Nation's Housing" report. "With demand reviving and inventories of homes for sale depleted, home prices may well find a bottom this year. Moreover, stronger sales should pave the way for a pickup in single-family construction over the course of 2012," the report said. "Nevertheless, a number of conditions may keep the recovery in the owner-occupied market relatively subdued. The backlog of roughly two million loans in foreclosure means that distressed sales will remain elevated, keeping prices under pressure. "Another 11.1 million homeowners owe more on their mortgages than their homes are worth, which dampens both sales of new homes and investment in existing units. And despite recent declines, the number...