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What Does 2010 Have in Store for Housing?

Home prices are up slightly, but don't assume we are out of the woods when it comes to the housing crisis just yet.

Financial journalist Joanne Lipman said on "The Early Show" said the ongoing problems -- unemployment and foreclosures -- will likely stretch into 2010.

"Unemployment which is still in double digits," she said. "(Also, the foreclosure rate is) something that we really need to be careful looking at. We're on track this year for 3.9 million foreclosure filings, which is a record, on top of the record last year. This will be problem also going into 2010, because by some measures, one in four mortgages is actually larger than the value of the house."

Lipman said experts don't know how much more is to come in terms of foreclosures in 2010, because a $75 billion government program announced early in 2009 that was supposed to help out four million homeowners has helped out with only 31, 000 mortgages.

She said, "There are hundreds of thousands of people who are really in limbo in terms of where they stand with their homes, and (if they will) be able to keep their homes."

But is there a silver lining for homebuyers?

Lipman said there will be bargains out there, and there will be people who will make money from this crisis.

However, Lipman warned, "This is not something you want to try at home. The prices are still declining in many areas. And not only that, for most people, it's very, very difficult to get a loan. ... There's lot of speculation now among professionals and among internationals because the dollar is weak, but it's a very difficult trick."

As for home prices in 2010, Lipman said they're still looking "iffy."

"People have to have access to credit and the unemployment rate needs to go down for us to see some improvement," she said, adding. "So perhaps by the end of the year (we'll see improvement) -- perhaps not in the first half."

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