HUD Chief on the Housing Crisis

Steve Preston chats with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer about the nation’s real estate pain.

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In a segment that aired Sunday, HUD Secretary Steve Preston spoke with CNN's Wolf Blitzer about the housing crisis.

Full Transcript here, via L.A. Land.

BLITZER: Because I want to get some practical advice for our viewers out there who are deeply worried about losing their homes. But where are we right now in terms of this housing crisis in the United States? Are we at the beginning, the middle, or near the end and see some light at the end of the tunnel?

PRESTON: Well, I think we're pushing through the middle right now. We still have very high inventories. If you look at home inventories, they are generally around 10½ to 11 months...

BLITZER: You mean there's a surplus of homes on the market out there, and not enough customers?

PRESTON: Yes. Typically, you'd see sort of a six- or seven-month inventory. We're 10 ½ or 11. So, we need new homebuyers to come back into this marketplace. And we have to work hard to stem the tide of foreclosures so we don't have more of those homes coming into the inventories.

BLITZER: Because people are not only worried about losing their homes—those who are still fortunate enough to own their homes, they're worried about the plummeting value of their homes, the prices going down, what, 16 percent of the value—in 20 major metropolitan areas, only in the past year has the value of these homes gone down.And in parts of the country, like in Vegas or in Arizona, in Florida, it's even worse.

PRESTON: That's true. It's a phenomenon across the country, but it is—it's heavily concentrated. The value declines are much more concentrated in sort of Florida, Nevada, Arizona, and California.So, there are parts of the country where the decline is much more moderated. And as a result, some of the policies coming out are focused on some of those high foreclosure areas more heavily.

BLITZER: Because—and where do we stand in terms of the value? Because we always know there are cycles. The value of homes go up, go down, but then they recover. Where is the recovery right now in terms of the value of people's homes?

PRESTON: Well, I think—everybody thinks that we're still—we're going to have some rough waters...

BLITZER: Are we still in the middle of this...?(CROSSTALK)

PRESTON: I think we've got a period of time. But we actually...

BLITZER: So, the fourth or fifth inning in terms of a baseball analogy?

PRESTON: I'm hoping we're pushing beyond the fourth, yes, maybe fifth, sixth...