But in one scenario it could be worse.

6.7 million delinquent mortgages are waiting to flood the market around the country -- and with near-zero cure rates most of them will. Another 2 million homes in foreclosure are being held off the market by banks.

Economist Keith Jurow says distressed asset investors are ignoring this threat: "If you are an investor thinking of buying one or more properties in Miami-Dade County, for example, you need to know that 24.9% of all active first liens there were seriously distressed. This means that more than 91,000 properties are almost certainly going to be dumped onto the market. Will that exert downward pressure on prices? Absolutely."

Distressed mortgages represented over ten percent of all mortgages in ten large markets, as of Q3 2010.