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Report: Shadow inventory remains high

Foreclosures continue to affect health of real estate market, according to Standard & Poor's.

Foreclosures continue to affect health of real estate market, according to Standard & Poor's.

Just as good food takes time, a new report indicates a good housing market will take some time.

According to findings released by Standard & Poor's, shadow housing is casting a pall on the real estate market. According to the report, the overall balance of nonagency residential distressed homes amounts to $450 billion.

"Shadow housing" is a term given to homes that are more than 90 days behind in their mortgage payments. These homes are taken over by banks that issued the mortgage and held back so as not to flood the market with foreclosures, diminishing housing options for people planning on moving.

Because the balance is so large, Standard & Poor's projects that these homes will not clear for at least another four years. Certain regions of the country will take longer to clear than others. For instance, because the liquidation rates are so low in New York, Standard & Poor's projects shadow inventories will take the longest to clear there. Boston joins New York as another Northeast section that will take longer to clear than others.

Though Boston is a distant second to New York in shadow inventories, many Bay Staters are on the verge of foreclosure. A Boston Globe report found that at least 36,000 residents are at least three months delinquent in their mortgage payments.