A meltdown in the subprime mortgage market helped spark the 2008 financial crisis.
"Yet, here we are in 2015 looking at another potential mortgage crisis," star equity analyst Richard Bove of Rafferty Capital Markets writes on CNBC.com.
"Only this time it is different. In 2008, funds flowed in waves into the mortgage industry. In 2015, it appears the funds are drying up."
Mortgage applications fell 13.2 percent in the week ended Feb. 13, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association.
The extended downturn has led officials at the Federal Housing Finance Agency to tell "mortgage originators to ignore the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's qualified mortgage rules and create mortgages with as high as 97 percent loan-to-value ratios," Bove says.
"They ignored the Treasury Department's mandate to shrink Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and required these two companies to increase the number of mortgages that they are guaranteeing."
The result: Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac reported losses in the fourth quarter last year, Bove notes.
"Now some people are beginning to get concerned. They are worried that the taxpayer may be forced to provide Fannie and Freddie with more cash. They fear more large losses could be reported by these companies," Bove writes.
Meanwhile, home prices have rebounded since bottoming in 2012, but it hasn’t exactly been a soaring recovery. The S&P/Case-Shiller index of home prices in 20 cities rose only 4.3 percent in the 12 months through November.
It's almost nine year since home prices peaked, notes Nobel laureate economist Robert Shiller, co-creator of the index.
"This is the most dramatic slump in housing we've ever had," he told Yahoo Finance.
"The government has taken over risk management through Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the FHA [Federal Housing Administration]." Those agencies back the overwhelming majority of new mortgages.
"It's not even much of a private market," Shiller explained.
He reiterated his view that owning a home isn't for everyone. "There is an argument for helping low-income people get a house. I think it makes them feel better about their attachment to this country and themselves," Shiller said.
"But there's no reason to bias people toward owning a house as opposed to getting an education or starting a business — other things people can do."
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