NAR: 12.9% home-price drop in ’09

Forecast anticipates 2% bump up in sales

National sales of resale homes are expected to rise 2 percent this year compared to 2008, with the national resale median price falling 12.9 percent, the National Association of Realtors reported Friday in its latest annual forecast.

The projected sales rise would be the first in two years, after a 12.8 percent drop in 2007 and a 13.1 percent drop in 2008, and NAR is projecting an additional 13.6 percent rise in existing-home sales in 2010.

The U.S. median resale price fell 9.5 percent last year and dropped 1.4 percent in 2007 — NAR is forecasting a 3.6 percent rise in the median resale price in 2010.

NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun said in a statement that the federal first-time homebuyer tax credit program "is working better than first projected," with a projected 2.3 million to 2.4 million first-time homebuyers this year and 5.01 million total sales of resale homes.

The group anticipates that new-home prices will fall 9 percent this year, with new single-family home sales dropping 18.1 percent this year and rising 38.2 percent in 2010. New single-family home sales had plunged 33.3 percent last year and 24.8 percent in 2007.

The trade group forecasts that real gross domestic product will fall 2.5 percent this year and rise 2.8 percent next year.

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Unemployment will average 9.3 percent for the year and rise to 9.8 percent in 2010, according to the forecast — in 2007 the unemployment rate was 4.6 percent.

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