Sales of existing homes are expected to fall 8.9 percent nationwide to 6.45 million in 2006, and sales of new homes are forecast to plunge 17.3 percent to 1.06 million this year, according to a statement from an industry trade group this week. Housing starts are expected to fall 10.9 percent to 1.84 million in 2006, the National Association of Realtors said in an announcement, and the national median existing-home price is likely to rise 1.6 percent to $223,000. NAR said it expects prices to remain slightly below year-ago levels before gaining positive traction in the first quarter of 2007. The median new-home price is projected to decline 0.2 percent to $240,500 -- largely the result of builder price cuts to move unsold inventory. NAR's expectations are less bleak than a housing report ...
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