Inventory in the residential housing market will not grow until the end of 2007 (after two years of decline), and tightened credit could delay the growth to the first quarter of 2008, according to Jamie Woodwell, senior director of commercial/multifamily research with the Mortgage Bankers Association.Speaking at the MBA's commercial real estate/multifamily finance asset administration conference in San Antonio, Mr. Woodwell said the MBA expects economic growth to pick up at the end of 2007 and interest rates to remain at about current levels through 2008. The MBA forecast also calls for home prices to decline 1% in 2007 and resales to decline 6%. Ron Witten, president of Witten Advisors, said he expects solid job growth in 2008 and 2009, after a slowdown in 2007, which should be a demand driver for multifamily rentals. On the condominium front, sales of new units are "much weaker" than condo resales, according to Mr. Witten. In addition, he said a record number of single-family homes for sale, as well as for rent, are now vacant. The MBA can be found online at http://www.mortgagebankers.org.

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