The National Association of Realtors expects an 18.3 percent drop in housing starts, a 13.9 percent drop in new-home sales and a 2.2 percent decline in existing-home sales this year compared to 2006, according to the trade group's latest forecast. "Tighter lending criteria and fallout from the subprime loan debacle will lead to a healthier housing market with greater assurance that owners can handle mortgage adjustments," the association announced, "but higher loan standards will slow the housing recovery." The national median existing-home price is expected to decline 0.7 percent this year to $220,300, following a 1 percent rise last year, while the median new-home price is expected to increase 0.4 percent to $246,200 in 2007 after a 1.8 percent gain last year. In 2008, existing-home pric...
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