Mortgage rates are near historic lows and just as ordinary Americans are wanting to buy again, the housing shortage is presenting a firm hurdle. When the market collapsed in 2006, the equity that was lost on many homes left homeowners unable or unwilling to sell. Although prices have started to rise again, for most homeowners, it still isn't enough to restore what was lost. Put simply by Stan Humphries, chief economist at real estate information site Zillow, "Every buyer wants to buy at the bottom, but no seller wants to sell at the bottom."
Photography: STEVE MARCUS