Existing-home sales are likely to decline by 8.5% this year and drop below the 6 million level for the first time since 2002, according to economists at the National Association of Realtors."There's been an unusual hit to home sales, starting in March when subprime problems emerged and more recently when problems spread to jumbo loans," NAR senior economist Lawrence Yun said. He noted, however, that the availability and pricing of jumbo loans is beginning to improve. The NAR's latest forecast indicates that sales of previously owned homes, including condominiums and cooperatives, will total 5.92 million by year's end and increase by 5.8% in 2008. "Existing home prices are likely to slip 1.7% to a median of $218,200," the NAR said. But the Realtors don't see a recovery in new-home sales. They expect new-homes sales to drop by 23.8% this year to 801,000, followed by a 7.4% decline in 2008. The NAR can be found online at http://www.realtor.org.

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