From homebuilders’ perspective, 2009 is likely to be a washout year, a panel of housing experts has predicted.
The National Association of Home Builders said at a news conference that this year is expected to be worse than 2008 and a period where the market really hits "the bottom," the Associated Press reports.
A number of factors contribute to this outlook, including rising foreclosures and late payments on mortgages, as well falling house prices and housing starts.
Meanwhile, employment figures may have the most significant impact on whether or not the housing market will recover any time soon.
Frank Nothaft of Freddie Mac forecast that unemployment could reach 8.7 percent in the fourth quarter of the year, up from its current level of 7.2 percent.
"The single most important trigger event leading to [mortgage] delinquency is unemployment," he told the news provider.
One factor that may be holding potential homebuyers back from the market is that many mortgage lenders are employing strict criteria to determine who can obtain a loan.
And some existing homeowners have been stung by falling prices, meaning they currently owe more money on their mortgage than their property is worth.