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by CareyBot

In its forecast for 2006, the National Association of Realtors trade group states that the "key word for the housing market...is balance, with a return to a more normal rate of price growth." David Lereah, NAR's chief economist, said in a statement that "cooling sales are necessary for the long-term health of this vital sector," and a "modest slowdown in home sales, coupled with improvements in housing inventory, means the market is in the process of normalization. That will help to bring balance between home buyers and sellers, yet sales will remain historically strong." After setting a fifth consecutive annual record, projected at 7.1 million units for 2005, existing-home sales are forecast to ease by 4.4 percent to 6.79 million this year, which would be the second highest on record, t...