Industry News

Fannie Mae: Home sales to slow in 2006

Interest rates, real estate market anxiety to fuel decline

Home sales in the U.S. will drop as much as 10 percent in 2006, a decline caused by higher interest rates and housing market jitters, mortgage giant Fannie Mae said in a report Tuesday.   Economists at the government-sponsored enterprise said their best guess is that sales will fall 8.4 percent, to 7.62 million units. That would be the first annual decline since 2000, when national sales dipped slightly, said David Seiders, chief economist of the National Association of Home Builders.   Though the decline will mark the end of a five-year run that helped fuel consumer spending and economic growth, even Fannie's predicted level for 2006 would be the third-strongest year on record for home sales, the economists noted.   Fannie Mae Economists David Berson and Molly Boesel said purchase originations and refinance activity should also drop off. They predicted purchase originations would dip 2.3 percent to $1.45 trillion. Refinance activity will fall 51.6 percent to $653 billio...