By Jim Droz

Despite record low interest rates and a temporary slowdown in bank foreclosures it appears the housing market struggled in the fourth quarter of 2010 and will continue to struggle in 2011. It is expected that banks will accelerate the foreclosure process and interest rates will rise, which will negatively impact prices. Home buyers continue to struggle to obtain financing because of higher down payment requirements and tougher qualification standards.

Specifically, the fourth quarter 2010 saw a strong decline in first-time home buyers due to the elimination of the first-time homebuyer tax credit and an increase in repeat buyers who are purchasing second homes and investment properties.

According to agents polled in the United States by, 61% percent reported that there are more sellers than buyers in their respective local markets. This is the largest percentage reported in over three years and is almost 20% higher than in January of 2010. Only 32% of the agents reported a predominantly buyer-heavy market during the fourth quarter of 2010. Seven percent of agents reported a good balance between the number of buyers and sellers in their real estate market.

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