Total home sales are likely to set another record this year as interest rates remain low and mortgage originations remain high, according to Freddie Mac's latest economic forecast.In its April economic outlook, the government-sponsored enterprise predicts that home sales will total 7.27 million units this year, 1% higher than sales in 2003. Rates on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages, which averaged 5.6% in the first quarter, should "dip 10 basis points in the second quarter before gently rising up to 5.7% in the fourth quarter," Freddie Mac says. The lowering of its mortgage rate forecast led the GSE to boost its forecast for total single-family mortgage originations. "Total single-family mortgage originations in 2004 are now expected to be near $2.8 trillion," the GSE said. Freddie Mac can be found on the Web at http://www.freddiemac.com.

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