If you're wondering why the housing market is still stuck in its worst slide in six decades, this chart pretty much says it all.
Though the market peaked in 2006, the toxic mortgages that have created this mess had two- and three-year fuses before they began exploding in 2007. Those interest rate "resets" created the initial wave of foreclosures and helped push the economy into recession.
As the recession took hold and unemployment soared, families with perfectly good mortgages - who had lost their paychecks - began losing their homes in bigger numbers.
The pace eased up somewhat in late 2008, in large part as lenders put foreclosures on hold to see what kind of relief the government would come up with. But neither the government's programs nor the lending industry's voluntary "solutions" have done anything to bend the curve lower.
Unless that changes, expect the housing market to continue to struggle under the weight of millions more "distressed" sales as banks repossess homes and put them back on the already-weak market. Some 3.5 million foreclosed homes have been sold since 2003, and there are at least that many more expected. One estimate puts the number of homes at risk at 11 million - or about one-fifth of U.S. home mortgages.