It seems that whenever you turn on the news these days, a scary word hits you in the face: "Recession." The R-word may be a trigger for those who remember-or even experienced-the mass layoffs, scores of foreclosures, and plummeting home prices of the last downturn, folks shouldn't panic just yet. And they shouldn't expect another real estate fire sale.

Depending on which economist is talking, the U.S. - and probably the rest of the world - is on the brink of recession at just about any moment. Time and time again, however, the economy has remained steady over the last few years.
The Great Recession technically began in December 2007 and ended in June 2009, but many Americans are still still dealing with the effects - particularly from the housing market crash - years later.

On a national scale, real estate has come a long way since those dark days, and home values continue to rise in most markets and are expected to increase nationally in 2020, according to real estate information company Zillow. Low inventory of available homes on the market and a high volume of buyers contribute to the price increases.

Historically 5 out of the last six recessions had little effect on the housing market.

Fortunately - and hopefully - the history of recessions and current issues that could harm the economy don't lead many to believe the housing market crash will repeat itself in an upcoming decline.

"It was called the Great Recession for a reason," says Skylar Olsen, director of economic research for Zillow. "That was a really big one in the course of recent history - that was an exceptional recession. ... It would really ease fears to just remind people, 'Hey, there were other recessions first that were much milder.'"

"If a recession is to occur, it is unlikely to be caused by housing-related activity, and therefore the housing sector should be one of the leading sources to come out of the recession," says Mark Fleming, chief economist for title insurance company First American Financial Corporation.

As Fleming notes, the housing market has traditionally aided the economy in recovering from a recession, as consumers who are less effected by the downturn are willing to buy and sell, and existing homeowners are able to take advantage of equity in their properties.

Will home prices and sales plummet in a recession?
Aspiring buyers hoping that home prices will crash, like they did during the Great Recession, are likely in for a rude awakening. There simply aren't enough homes being built to satisfy the hordes of buyers. And with more members of the giant millennial generation wanting single-family homes in which to raise their growing families, there isn't likely to be a drop-off in demand anytime soon.

An important factor in all of this is mortgage interest rates.
Historically 6 out of the last six recessions reduced interest rates.

Foreclosures aren't expected to be such a problem if a downturn occurs. Lending laws were tightened in the wake of the housing bubble bursting. So now only the most qualified borrowers can secure a mortgage. Plus, homeowners these days have a record amount of equity in their homes. 

And more people own their homes outright today than they did just over a decade ago. About 4 in 10 homeowners don't have a mortgage on their abode compared with 3 in 10 when the last recession occurred.
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