Industry News

Economists say housing market cooling, not crashing

More interest-rate hikes could temper optimism

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Housing sales and starts are down from last year's peaks, and will continue to decline in 2007 and perhaps into 2008, economists at Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the National Association of Home Builders predicted today. Although the housing market is slowing down with the economy, there are no signs of recession or a bursting bubble. A slowdown in the economy could cushion the decline in the housing market by bringing an end to a series of 17 quarter-point, short-term interest-rate hikes by the Federal Reserve, the economists said. While housing prices aren't expected to appreciate as rapidly as they did at the height of the 2002-2005 boom, overall, they're not expected to decline, either. "Though the direction of housing activity is unambiguously heading cooler, we remain confident that the climate is still temperate and that 2006 will finish as the third strongest year ever for the national housing market," Freddie Mac's office of the chief economist concludes in its Ju...