Industry NewsMarkets & Economy

Landmines on road to recovery

Forecasts: home sales will grow despite anemic economy

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Real estate agents and brokers typically look forward to spring as the season where homebuyers come out in force and sales pick up.In 2010, the uncertainty created by the financial crisis makes it harder to bank on a seasonal uptick in sales -- particularly in markets hit hard by unemployment.Further complicating matters down the road are three potentially destabilizing events that are expected to occur in a tight timeframe during the spring buying season: At the end of March, the Federal Reserve is expected to wind up a $1.25 trillion program that's kept mortgage rates low.The Federal Housing Administration's announcement that it plans to tighten underwriting standards could take effect as soon as April.Congress is expected to allow the newly expanded homebuyer tax credit to expire, closing the door on buyers not under contract by April 30 and closing by June 30.Economists must rely on a certain amount of guesswork in predicting what impact these changes will have when drawing up thei...