Home sales probably increased in August, a sign the U.S. real estate market is stabilizing after the expiration of a tax credit might have caused demand to plunge, economists said before reports on the housing market this week. Purchases of new and previously owned homes rose 7.1%, to a combined 4.395 million annual pace, according to the median forecast in a Bloomberg News survey. A separate report could show orders for long-lasting goods, excluding transportation equipment, rebounded last month. "Housing is in a fragile bottoming process," said Aaron Smith, a senior economist at Moody's Analytics in West Chester, Pa. Projected gains in home sales and durable goods are "consistent with stabilizing growth, albeit it at a slower" pace than earlier this year, he said.