A spurt in home sales in 2009, aided by low interest rates and the first-time homebuyer tax credit, has led some economists to forecast a turnaround in the housing market this year. Other forecasters feel this is too optimistic a projection. Among those who see improvement in the 2010 market is Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the National Association of Realtors (NAR). Yun hopes that the extension of the first-time homebuyer tax credit will provide a new pool of buyers to absorb the additional foreclosures that will hit the market this year. He expects existing-home sales to rise 13.6 percent in 2010; home prices should go up 3 to 5 percent, with wide geographic differences. The average rate on 30-year fixed mortgages will range from 5.3 percent in the first quarter to 5.8 percent by year end. This forecast assumes there will be no major economic surprises. The weak job market remains a concern. The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) has a slightly different take on the...
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