Markets & Economy

NAR forecasts 2014 existing-home sales won’t match last year’s tally

Uptrend expected as slow start blamed on 'severe weather patterns'

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Stock market investors may have been spooked today by news that Wal-Mart is expecting its smallest quarterly sales growth in almost five years, but the National Association of Realtors issued a rosy housing forecast blaming a "subpar" first quarter in part on "severe weather patterns." NAR sees sales picking up with "healthy underlying demand" for homes "over the balance of the year and through 2015." “There are no fresh signs of recession," and the economy could grow by about 3 percent during the second quarter, NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun said. The slower-than-expected spring homebuying season means that, even if there is gradual improvement for the rest of the year, Yun is now projecting that slightly more than 4.9 million existing homes will change hands in 2014, down 3 percent from last year. Next year Yun thinks existing-home sales should ramp back up to 5.2 million, surpassing last year's total of nearly 5.1 million. Factors weighing on the market today inc...