The downturn in home values will likely persist through next year, though signs of stabilization are emerging, according to the chief economist of the National Association of Home Builders.NAHB chief economist David Seiders says home values will likely start to turn upward again early in 2009, with a 10%-15% decline in home prices from the peak of the cycle in 2005 to the trough. On the plus side, lower prices and low mortgage interest rates are reviving housing affordability, Mr. Seiders said during an annual year-end housing forecast call. Mr. Seiders, acknowledging that the housing downturn has been more severe than he predicted, said the meltdown in the housing finance market was the chief reason that home sales and prices have suffered more than expected. Still, he said improved housing affordability and low interest-rates are laying the groundwork for recovery. "Demand has weakened dramatically, but we are looking at tentative signs of stabilization," he said. The NAHB can be found online at http://www.nahb.com.

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