The most challenging issue for housing markets is likely to be excess inventory, analysts at Fitch Ratings said as they issued more dire projections for declines in housing starts and sales in the second half of the year. Fitch now forecasts sales of existing single-family homes will fall 10 percent, to 5.83 million, in 2007, while sales of new homes will be off 23.5 percent, to 812,000. Total housing starts are projected to be 1.3 million, or 28 percent lower than 2006. That compares to a previous forecast in Fitch's Summer 2007 Chalkline report predicting existing-home sales of 6.09 million, new-home sales of 902,000, and 1.46 million total housing starts. Housing production is being cut back at a faster rate than the decline in sales, but, Fitch analysts expect the supply of homes "to still be excessive entering 2008." "Perhaps, the most challenging issue for housing, both new and existing, is excess inventory," Fitch analysts said in summarizing their new ratings and...
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