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Sales 'settle into groove'

September 3, 2002

NAR forecasts sunny year for housing market, cites record low interest rates

Inman News Features

Home sales have cooled from a breakneck pace during the first half of 2002 and are expected to stay in a relatively narrow range for the coming year, according to the National Association of Realtors.

"Home sales appear to be settling into a groove. Although record levels of buyers have recently fulfilled their housing dreams, historically low mortgage interests rates are opening the doors of homeownership to first-time buyers and sustaining the trade-up market," said David Lereah, NAR's chief economist.

"We forecast the sales pace of existing homes to hover in the range of 5.1 million to 5.3 million through the end of next year," Lereah said. Overall sales in 2002 are forecast to rise 2.7 percent to a total of 5.44 million units, a new record, with about 5.22 million expected in 2003, according to NAR.

New-home sales are expected to rise 1.9 percent to a total of 926,000 units this year, also a record, and then ease to 898,000 in 2003, according to NAR.

Housing starts are expected to rise 3.5 percent to a total of 1.66 million units in 2002, and then ease slightly to 1.63 million next year, according to NAR.

NAR forecasts the national median existing-home price to rise 6.6 percent to $157,500 in 2002, and then increase another 4.2 percent next year. The typical new-home price is projected to be $184,800 this year, up 5.5 percent from last year, and is expected to rise 5 percent next year.

Copyright: Inman News Service

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