NEW YORK -- The national housing market may not have reached bottom yet, but the second half of the year will likely begin the recovery from a slight downturn that followed a prolonged boom in sales and home prices, economists generally agreed during a panel this week at the Real Estate Connect NYC conference. "We're going to hit the trough in the first half of 2007," said Frank Nothaft, chief economist for Freddie Mac and a panelist for the "Housing Outlook: 2007" session. Other panelists included representatives from the California Association of Realtors, Rutgers University and the University of Pennsylvania. Single-family construction, which peaked in third-quarter 2005, was 18 percent lower in third-quarter 2006, he noted. From that level Nothaft said he expects an additional decline of about 8 percent to 10 percent before the market turns around. "We're most of the way through the correction but we're not at the trough part yet." Affordability plummeted from late 2005 throug...
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