Housing Crisis: The Fix Is InIt's been a long, slow slog, but the housing market is slowly righting itself. In fact, there are signs the pace is picking up, sparking hope for cabinetry, closets, flooring and millwork firms.

Banks report that they are processing more foreclosures, settling matters with consumers and watchdog groups, and resolving challenges regarding documents, one way or the other.

Investors are moving in, accounting for 50 to 75 percent of the sales in some locales.They are buying languishing developments and repossessions, converting them to rental units or flipping them for resale.

Cities are also getting into the act. The City of Chicago housing department is taking possession of hundreds of vacant or abandoned multi-unit buildings, under new local laws of eminent doman. Chicago has begun conversion of 150 of these buildings; Community Investment Corp. says it has found 250 candidate buildings in the city, representing thousands of units. Notably Chicago turns the propoerty over to private developers with a good track record.

In  similar leverage of investors, Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake launched a Vacants to Value initiative that uses the private market to maximize the repair and rehabilitation of blighted properties.

The forces the drive the market include natural wear and tear: 300,000 homes are demolished each year - another factor the also reduces the standing inventory of homes.

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