Home sales are forecast to reach levels in 2005 that are second only to the record set in 2004, the National Association of Realtors reported today. Existing-home sales are forecast to decline 2 percent this year to a total of 6.54 million, compared with 6.68 million in 2004. New-home sales are projected at 1.11 million this year, down 6.2 percent from a record 1.18 million in 2004. Housing starts are seen at 1.92 million units this year, a decline of 1.8 percent from 1.95 million 2004, which was the highest level of housing construction since 1978. David Lereah, chief economist for the association, said, "Even with a growing economy and improving job market, inflation should stay tame with only modest upward pressure on interest rates. The relationship between mortgage interest rates,...
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