Home sales this year are expected to stay below the peak levels in 2005 but will remain historically strong, the National Association of Realtors reported today. David Lereah, NAR's chief economist, said the sales slowdown has already occurred. "Right now, home sales are a little lower than projected, but they can be sustained around current levels," Lereah said. "Sometimes people lose sight of the fact that real estate is cyclical. Even so, sales will continue at a historically high pace with modestly higher interest rates as the year progresses, and 2006 is forecast to be the third-strongest year on record." Existing-home sales are likely to decline 4.7 percent to 6.74 million this year, down from a record 7.07 million units in 2005, while new-home sales are expected to fall 8.5 percent to 1.17 million from a record 1.28 million in 2005; both sectors would see their third-best year after the totals for 2005 and 2004. Housing starts are seen at 1.87 million units in 2006, down 9.3 p...
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