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Housing Recovery Remains Anemic, Fitch Says

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The US housing recovery is off to an "anemic" start, credit-rating agency Fitch Ratings said in commentary today. "The federal housing credit and very attractive affordability both gave the housing sector a brief jolt after bottoming out in the middle of last year," said managing director and lead US homebuilding analyst Bob Curran. "However, faltering consumer confidence has somewhat restrained the recovery so far, with numerous challenges still awaiting the sector." Among the challenges facing the US housing market include the termination of the Federal Reserve's mortgage-backed securities purchase program, the conclusion of the housing credit program, and continued high levels of delinquency and foreclosure. "Nevertheless, housing has embarked on a recovery, admittedly more muted than expansions of the past," Fitch said in a press release. As the recovery seen in housing so far remains fragile, US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) secretary Shaun Donovan told House of Representatives lawmakers Wednesday that eliminating government support of the housing market through a quick resolution of the government-sponsored entities could further upset the mortgage markets. Other expert witnesses at the House hearing urged some form of government support of the US housing finance system in whatever post-GSE world that emerges as public policy is shaped to respond to the ongoing financial crisis. Write to Diana Golobay.

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