Home sales are expected to soften to a better balance this year, with price gains slowing but remaining above historic norms, according to the National Association of Realtors.
Sales of existing-homes, including single-family and condo, should ease 2.4 percent to a total of 6.62 million this year, second only to 6.78 million in 2004. New-home sales are forecast at 1.14 million in 2005, also the second highest, 5.0 percent less than the record of 1.20 million last year. Housing starts are expected to rise 1.4 percent to 1.98 million units in 2005, the highest level of housing construction since 1978.
David Lereah, NAR’s chief economist, said the supply of homes remains tight. “The simple fact is we still have more buyers than sellers in most of the country,” he said. “This supply-demand imbalance is continuing to put pressure on home prices, but we should get closer to equilibrium by the end of the year.”
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