Housing at depression levels

If you own a house, you know that sinking feeling every time you read stories like this:

In the past few years, we've all been careful to choose our words carefully, not calling it a recession until it fit the technical definition and avoiding any inappropriate use of the "D" word - Depression.

Things were bad but the broader economy never reached Depression territory. The housing market, on the other hand, just crossed that threshold.

Home values have fallen 26 percent since their peak in June 2006, worse than the 25.9-percent decline seen during the Depression years between 1928 and 1933, Zillow reported.

November marked the 53rd consecutive month (4 ½ years) that home values have fallen.

What's worse, it's not over yet: Home values are expected to continue to slide as inventories pile up, and likely won't recover until the job market improves.

Some areas are literal ghost towns - entire swaths of suburbia virtually uninhabited. It makes me heartsick to think of all the trillions in wealth - real money held by real people, not the monopoly money the government uses - has disappeared.

Irrational exuberance replaced by depression.