Tracking housing market’s next move

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Sales of existing homes rose 7.6 percent nationally in April and the median home price increased 4 percent from a year ago, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR). The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index rose to 63.3 in May compared to April, the third consecutive monthly gain. Although low compared to pre-recession years, the recent increase reflects consumers' confidence about job prospects. The Institute for Supply Management reported that its business barometer was 59.7 in May. A figure above 50 suggests expansion. This is good news for the economy. However, there are shadows overhanging the home-sale market and a certain amount of uncertainty about what the second half of the year will bring. A concern is the expiration of the national tax credits for both first-time and repeat homebuyers. Most analysts agree that the tax credits were a boost to the market. Some say the credits artificially inflated home sales. They expect to see a drop in sales...