Think back to late 2007, before the stock market crash of 2008. If you'll recall, the first omen of the Great Recession was a housing market decline. Now some economists are suggesting that a current stall in home sales and new construction portends a new period of economic downdraft. A foundering job market, declines on Wall Street and rough global economic conditions are all cited as contributing factors. The one bright side? Home prices are more affordable than they have been in years, in many areas -- that's assuming you can meet more stringent mortgage criteria.