After four consecutive record years, home sales are expected to drop slightly but remain close to record levels in 2005, the National Association of Realtors reported today. Following an estimated 8.9 percent jump to 6.64 million existing-home sales in 2004, activity will remain strong, the association announced today. Sales should decline about 2.5 percent to a total of 6.48 million in 2005, which would be the second highest on record. New-home sales should come in at a record 1.19 million for 2004, up 9.5 percent from 2003, with 1.11 million sales expected in 2005 – which would also be the second strongest on record. David Lereah, the association's chief economist, said, "No one expects home sales to set a record every year, with some ebb and flow normal as market conditions and needs shift. Even so, home sales will stay well above what was considered to be a healthy level in the late 1990s. The population has grown, household formation is strong and demographics tell us th...
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