Not as fortunate are hard-hit foreclosure markets such as Denver, which saw 50,000 foreclosure filings last year, according to RealtyTrac, which comes out to a 2.6 percent foreclosure rate, ninth in the nation behind the likes of Las Vegas and Detroit. Here, GSE loan limits won't change to boost liquidity, though at the beginning of this year the local economy had added jobs at a rate of 2 percent, which is triple the national average, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The availability of jobs gets at the critical question of how much money is available within a market. A market with money on the sidelines has better recovery prospects because it means potential buyers are out there. A market without economic activity to generate buyers is simply sinking.
"People aren't pulling the trigger right now," says Steve Cesinger, vice-chairman at Dewberry Holdings, an Atlanta-based real estate investment group. "But it's a big difference if they're not pulling the trigger because the prices haven't declined enough or because they're waiting to catch the bottom."