In his speech, Bernanke gave no hint of what future moves the Fed might take. But he said officials at the central bank understood the problems still facing the U.S. economy.
Bernanke said the housing has shown signs of recovery this year. But he said construction activity, sales and prices remain much lower than they were before the crisis. About 20 percent of mortgage borrowers remain underwater, meaning that they owe more on their mortgage than their home is worth, he noted.
Bernanke said that the Fed and other regulators would continue to pursue efforts to make credit more available to potential home buyers.
Associated Press Writer Michael Biesecker in Atlanta contributed to this report.