Following a correction in home sales and prices in 2006, existing-home sales are expected to “coast” at roughly the same level next year, although there will be some additional decline in the new-home market, according to a forecast released today at the National Association of Realtors Conference & Expo in New Orleans.

“Overall home-price gains will be modest,” said David Lereah, NAR’s chief economist, in a statement, and sellers are adjusting to the market transition. “Home sellers are becoming realistic about current market conditions and are now offering more competitive pricing, in addition to some incentives or concessions — especially to help first-time buyers,” he said.

“We now have the most favorable market for home buyers in several years, and most sellers — who’ve been in their home for a normal period of home ownership — are still seeing very healthy returns on their investment.

Conditions for buyers have improved because sellers are flexible now and mortgage interest rates are near historic lows. The market promises to be more balanced between buyers and sellers by early spring, supporting future price growth,” Lereah said.

Existing-home sales, expected to fall 8.6 percent to 6.47 million this year — the third-best performance on record — are projected to be essentially even in 2007 with a 0.6 percent decline to 6.43 million. New-home sales, likely to drop 16.8 percent to 1.07 million in 2006, are forecast to fall another 8.7 percent next year to 975,000, largely due to a significant reduction in construction by builders.

Total housing starts this year will probably fall 10.6 percent to 1.85 million units, and then decline another 11.8 percent to 1.63 million in 2007.

“Given the huge gains in home values during the housing boom, and this year’s rise in housing inventory, overall price gains this year and next will be modest,” Lereah said.

Even with temporary declines in some months, the national median existing-home price should increase 1.9 percent for all of 2006 to $223,700, then another 1.7 percent next year to $227,500. The median new-home price is expected to drop 1.1 percent to $238,400 this year before rising 1.3 percent in 2007 to $241,400.

The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage is projected to average 6.4 percent in the fourth quarter and then rise to 6.6 percent by next spring.

The unemployment rate for 2006 is likely to average 4.6 percent, edging up to 4.7 percent next year. Inflation, as measured by the Consumer Price Index, is forecast at 3.4 percent this year and 2.3 percent in 2007, while growth in the U.S. gross domestic product is expected to be 3.3 percent in 2006 and 2.7 percent next year. Inflation-adjusted disposable personal income should grow 3.3 percent this year and 3.5 percent in 2007.

Show Comments Hide Comments

Comments

Sign up for Inman’s Morning Headlines
What you need to know to start your day with all the latest industry developments
By submitting your email address, you agree to receive marketing emails from Inman.
Success!
Thank you for subscribing to Morning Headlines.
Back to top
The best of real estate is gathering in Las Vegas NEXT month! Grab your ticket before prices go up on October 1.Register Now×
Limited time: Get 30 days of Inman Select for $5.SUBSCRIBE×
Log in
If you created your account with Google or Facebook
Don't have an account?
Forgot your password?
No Problem

Simply enter the email address you used to create your account and click "Reset Password". You will receive additional instructions via email.

Forgot your username? If so please contact customer support at (510) 658-9252

Password Reset Confirmation

Password Reset Instructions have been sent to

Subscribe to The Weekender
Get the week's leading headlines delivered straight to your inbox.
Top headlines from around the real estate industry. Breaking news as it happens.
15 stories covering tech, special reports, video and opinion.
Unique features from hacker profiles to portal watch and video interviews.
Unique features from hacker profiles to portal watch and video interviews.
It looks like you’re already a Select Member!
To subscribe to exclusive newsletters, visit your email preferences in the account settings.
Up-to-the-minute news and interviews in your inbox, ticket discounts for Inman events and more
1-Step CheckoutPay with a credit card
By continuing, you agree to Inman’s Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

You will be charged . Your subscription will automatically renew for on . For more details on our payment terms and how to cancel, click here.

Interested in a group subscription?
Finish setting up your subscription