Stimulating Housing Demand When the housing market collapsed four years ago, many economists and federal regulators blamed excessive leverage on Main Street and Wall Street for the crisis. Now, years later, the unwinding of that massive debt -- known as deleveraging --is slowing the economic recovery, says Mike Konczal, a fellow at the Roosevelt Institute, a left-leaning think tank. "Mortgage debt is the real core problem" for the economy, Konczal told The Daily Ticker. It's estimated that 23 percent to 31 percent of homeowners owe more debt than their homes are worth, said Konczal. Not surprisingly, many are trying to pay off that debt, leaving less money to spend on anything else, and that drop in demand is causing high unemployment. He calls it a "balance sheet recession."