With home prices having dropped a painful 21 percent from their 2006 peaks, property owners everywhere could use a splash of good news in their New Year's Eve cocktails. But as a nasty recession is now part of the picture, the chances of an aggressive housing market rebound next year are dim. "A lasting recovery in the housing market?" says Mike Larson, a real estate analyst at Weiss Research. "I don't see it in the cards until the back end of the year—if that."
Here's a look at the factors that will be weighing down the housing market in 2009:
5. Tighter Credit As banks face higher loan delinquencies, they've responded by jacking up their lending standards for even well-qualified borrowers. The Federal Reserve's most recent Senior Loan Officer Survey found that 70 percent of domestic banks had boosted their lending standards for prime mortgages. More stringent terms will prevent certain borrowers from obtaining mortgages, thereby limiting demand for housing.