De Desharnais, a homebuilder and real estate agent in Nashua, N.H., stands in front of a house her company is constructing. She says her company had 32 employees at the height of the housing boom, and now only has six despite the industry's gradual recovery. Chris Arnold/NPR hide caption

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A sign announces that a Los Angeles house is for sale in November. Richard Vogel/AP hide caption

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Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke during a news conference in June. Financial markets reacted to comments he made then by selling off bonds and stocks. Alex Wong/Getty Images hide caption

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