News / Economy

Analysts: Foreclosure Mess Hurts US, Global Economy

WASHINGTON — The U.S. housing sector usually leads the rest of the economy out of recession.  But that is happening much more slowly than usual in the wake of the latest downturn.  That is because the housing industry is burdened by a huge number of bad loans that have caused a financial, bureaucratic, and economic mess. Problems in the U.S. housing sector are slowing the economic recovery in the world's largest economy, and elsewhere.

Deborah Harris faces possible eviction from the home she has owned for the past 17 years, after failing to make some of her mortgage payments.

Harris was a paramedic with Washington's fire department.

"Here you are about to lose your home.  It's nowhere else to go.  I don't have any husband, I don't have any children.  I've worked 23 years in the Fire Department, saving lives, keeping people alive, and here I am retired, and I don’t have a place to stay. Come on.  I mean, that's ridiculous," Harris said.

Harris won awards and promotions for her service on an ambulance, but stopped working after she was hurt carrying a large patient.  

It took many months of doctor's exams and filing paperwork to convince officials she was entitled to a pension. During that period without pay, she fell behind on her mortgage.  

The financial crisis that started in 2007 brought rising unemployment, falling home values and surging foreclossures.  

Foreclosure specialty firm RealtyTrac says foreclosures soared to more than one million a year at the peak of the crisis, from about 200,000 in an average year.

A slightly better economy has cut the foreclosure rate, but it will probably still hit about 700,000 this year.  

The chief economist from the National Association of Realtors, Lawrence Yun, says the flood of foreclosures hurts the U.S. economy, which cuts demand for products from other nations and slows global growth.    

"Foreclosure is the predominant reason for why the housing market is taking a long time to recover," Yun said. "Historically, the housing market always leads the economy, so when housing market goes down, the economy goes into a recession.   When (the) housing market recovers, economy comes out of recession."

Harris says falling into foreclosure has been a nightmare. "If it had not been for God to help me, I know I could have just gotten a stroke and died, because it was just so devastating, knowing, I didn't know when they were going to come and try to get me out of here," she said.

Harris is just one of 4.3 million people who have gone all the way through the foreclosure process since the beginning of the financial crisis.  But with help from a community group and a lawyer, she is fighting the foreclosure in court.

You May Like

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

World Currencies

EUR
USD
0.9211
JPY
USD
119.18
GBP
USD
0.6722
CAD
USD
1.2509
INR
USD
62.518

Rates may not be current.