A National Association of Realtors study last year found that investors accounted for about 23% of home sales transactions, but the NAR's chief economist said investor activity in 2006 is a "wildcard" that could affect home prices and home sales activity.David Lereah, like other economists who participated in a Homeownership Alliance teleconference, said he expects investor activity to decline in 2006. If investors pull out of the market too quickly, that could "hurt housing," he said. David Seiders, chief economist at the National Association of Home Builders, said the biggest risk would be that investors not only stop buying, but also move the properties they have purchased back onto the market en masse, putting downward pressure on prices. Economists said that investor activity will have the most impact in markets where home values have risen quickly in recent years and those with significant resort and tourism industries. The alliance can be found online at http://www.homeownershipalliance.com.

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