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Downturn expected to last through much of 2008

Economists: Mortgage problems not fatal for housing market

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LAS VEGAS -- The slumping housing market should turn around in 2008 or 2009, the current and former chief economists for the National Association of Realtors trade group said today during a presentation at an annual conference. Housing markets in Arizona, California, Florida and Nevada were among the hardest hit in the country by the downturn, NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun said, noting that some local markets have performed well despite the national trends. Markets such as Salt Lake City; Salem, Ore.; Allentown, Pa.; Seattle; Raleigh, N.C; Albuquerque, N.M.; Buffalo, N.Y., and San Antonio, Texas, have experienced "robust home-price appreciation," Yun said, counter to the national trend. He also singled out several housing markets that can be considered underpriced, among them Lexington, Ky.; Nashville; Pittsburgh; and Denver, and noted that job growth in Wichita, Kan., makes that market right for a real estate boom. While NAR's projection that the U.S. median existing-home price wi...