Economists expect housing market to remain

REAL ESTATE WATCH

April 21, 2002

Any talk of a housing slowdown was dismissed as two prominent housing economists said the outlook for the rest of the year is bright for builders and real estate agents.

"All the numbers we are seeing point to a good balance of housing supply and demand in most of the country," said David F. Seiders, chief economist for the National Association of Home Builders.

"The economic and financial market environment in our forecasts should provide a solid foundation for the housing market in both 2002 and 2003," Seiders said. He expects housing starts "to hover around the 1.6 million annual rate over the balance of this forecast period."

"With the economy growing, the job market rebounding and mortgage rates staying relatively low, we see the housing market staying healthy through 2003," said David Lereah, chief economist for the National Association of Realtors.

A record 906,000 new houses and 5.3 million existing houses were sold last year. Seiders and Lereah both forecast a slight rise in mortgage rates toward 7.4 percent by the end of the year and 7.7 percent next year.

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