Existing-home sales are expected to reach the third-highest total on record this year, the National Association of Realtors announced today in its latest forecast. Existing-home sales are projected at 6.47 million this year, a decline of 8.6 percent compared to 2005, and are expected to fall 1 percent to 6.4 million in 2007. New-home sales for this year, meanwhile, are expected to fall 17.7 percent to 1.06 million, which is the fourth-highest total on record. The association also expects new-home sales to decline another 9.4 percent in 2007 to 957,000. The association's chief economist expects total housing starts to drop 12.3 percent this year to 1.82 million units, with another 15.1 percent drop in 2007 to 1.54 million. "Much of the contraction in the new housing market results from cuts in builder construction to support pricing for current inventories. In addition, high construction costs in many areas are minimizing potential profits," according to the Realtor group's announ...
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