United States housing bubble
The United States housing bubble was an economic bubble affecting many parts of the United States housing market in over half of American states. Housing prices peaked in early 2006, started to decline in 2006 and 2007, and reached new lows in 2012. On December 30, 2008, the Case-Shiller home price index reported its largest price drop in its history. The credit crisis resulting from the bursting of the housing bubble is—according to general consensus—the primary cause of the 2007–2009 recession in the United States.Increased foreclosure rates in 2006–2007 among U.S. homeowners led to a crisis in August 2008 for the subprime, Alt-A, collateralized debt obligation (CDO), mortgage, credit, hedge fund, and foreign bank markets. In October 2007, the U.S. Secretary of the Treasury called the bursting housing bubble ""the most significant risk to our economy.""Any collapse of the U.S. housing bubble has a direct impact not only on home valuations, but the nation's mortgage markets, home builders, real estate, home supply retail outlets, Wall Street hedge funds held by large institutional investors, and foreign banks, increasing the risk of a nationwide recession. Concerns about the impact of the collapsing housing and credit markets on the larger U.S. economy caused President George W. Bush and the Chairman of the Federal Reserve Ben Bernanke to announce a limited bailout of the U.S. housing market for homeowners who were unable to pay their mortgage debts.In 2008 alone, the United States government allocated over $900 billion to special loans and rescues related to the U.S. housing bubble, with over half going to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (both of which are government-sponsored enterprises) as well as the Federal Housing Administration. On December 24, 2009, the Treasury Department made an unprecedented announcement that it would be providing Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac unlimited financial support for the next three years despite acknowledging losses in excess of $400 billion so far. The Treasury has been criticized for encroaching on spending powers that are enumerated for Congress alone by the United States Constitution, and for violating limits imposed by the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008.