Sales of existing single-family homes flattened out in August after a five-month decline, but prices fell for the first time since 1994 and further price declines are expected for the rest of the year.The National Association of Realtors reported that August resales of single-family homes were unchanged from those in July at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 6.28 million -- down 12.3% from that of August 2005. The median single-family home price fell 1.7% last month from that of year ago. The biggest decline ever recorded by the NAR was 2.1% in November 1990, when the economy was in recession and mortgage rates stood at 10%. NAR chief economist David Lereah stressed that a price correction is necessary to stabilize the housing market, and he said he believes the decline in sales has bottomed out. "I suspect that if prices continue to come down, sales will stay flat and modestly increase," Mr. Lereah told reporters. Meanwhile, sales of condominiums and cooperatives fell 3.5% in August from the level recorded in July and prices were down 2.4% from those of a year earlier. Overall, resales of single-family homes, condos, and co-ops fell 0.5% from a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 6.33 million in July to 6.30 million in August. The NAR can be found online at http://www.realtor.org.

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