Industry NewsMarkets & Economy

NAR lowers sales, construction forecast

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In a forecast released today, the National Association of Realtors lowered its expectations for existing-home sales to 5.02 million in 2008 and new-home sales to 487,000 as unemployment concerns grow. These figures are down from expectations one month ago of 5.04 million resale homes and 503,000 new-home sales in 2008. NAR expects existing-home sales to rise to 5.32 million next year and 5.62 million in 2010, while it sees sales of new homes falling to 413,000 next year and growing to 520,000 in 2010. Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, projects growth in the U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) to contract in the fourth quarter of this year and the first quarter of 2009, before expanding in latter part of 2009 as home sales recover. "Right now we're in a recession and unemployment will increase through 2009," he said. "Consumer spending has halted and businesses are very cautious of expanding. It is unclear by how much the global economic slowdown will dampen U....