David Lereah Expects Soft Landing
Sales of U.S. homes will ease modestly but should stay within a narrow range for the remainder of 2006, a real estate agents' trade group said on Tuesday.
The National Association of Realtors (NAR) said in a monthly forecast that it expects sales this year of existing homes to fall 6.7 percent to 6.6 million units, the third highest yearly level on record, from 7.08 million in 2005.
NAR also said it expects new home sales to fall 12.8 percent to 1.12 million units from 1.28 million in 2005, and for housing starts to dip 6.8 percent to 1.93 million units from 2.07 million last year.
"We should see home sales rise and fall month to month, but don't look for any big shifts one way or the other," National Association of Realtors chief economist David Lereah said in a statement.
"The major housing indicators have been moving up and down within a reasonable range, which means the market should even out just below present levels," he said. "At the same time, housing inventory levels are balanced in much of the country, so overall price appreciation will be at a normal rate." (Reuters 7/18/06)