President Barack Obama had vowed to bolster home sales, but the turnaround has been impeded by factors including banks' reluctance to lend to borrowers who will not live in the homes. Mortgage lending also has decreased because of rising interest rates for residential loans and stricter qualifying rules. The tax credit for first-time homebuyers has done little to help, said Eric Belsky of Harvard University's Joint Center for Housing Studies. "It hasn't been much more than a seesawing of data," Belsky said. "Housing has led the U.S. economy out of every recession for at least 50 years, and for that to happen again, more stimulus is going to be needed."
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