New- and existing-home sales will both reach record highs this year and should "ease but remain historically strong" in 2005, according to the National Association of Realtors.The NAR is projecting a record-shattering total of 6.49 million resales this year, far above last year's record of 6.10 million. The association's projection for new-home sales is a record 1.15 million, compared with 1.09 million in 2003. (In January, the NAR was projecting 5.85 million resales and 1.01 million new-home sales for this year.) NAR chief economist David Lereah said he expects a gradual easing in the housing sales pace in the first quarter of 2005, with the housing market "coasting at historically high levels as mortgage interest rates rise. At this point -- with strong market fundamentals -- we project next year will be the second-best overall year for the housing market." The NAR can be found online at http://www.realtor.org.

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