The speed and severity of the downturn in the housing market have dashed Wall Street's hopes for a "soft landing" in the industry, according to Mike Larson, a real estate specialist with Weiss Research's MoneyandMarkets.com.Mr. Larson, an analyst with the Jupiter, Fla.-based Weiss Research, said five consecutive months of decline in existing-home sales and a 13% drop over the past year have discredited the soft-landing forecasts. "We have just witnessed the first year-over-year drop in median home prices in 11 years -- and the second-worst such decline in 38 years of record-keeping," the analyst declared. "With the pile-up of new and existing unsold homes now the largest in history, the latest price decline could be just the first of many." Weiss can be found on the Web at http://www.moneyandmarkets.com.

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