The NAR's latest housing forecast, released today, represents the ninth time this year the realtor-led trade association has been forced to reduce its home sales expecations. The NAR now says it expects the housing slump to persist into 2008, citing what it called "mortgage problems." From the press release:
Existing-home sales are projected at 5.92 million this year and then rise to 6.27 million in 2008, compared with 6.48 million in 2006. New-home sales should total 801,000 in 2007 and 741,000 next year, below the 1.05 million in 2006.
The existing-home sales number represents an 8.6 percent decline during 2007 versus 2006 -- a pretty significant revision from the 6.8 percent drop estimated by the trade group just one month earlier. The new home sales numbers now represent a 24 percent drop for 2007, piling onto an 18 percent drop during 2006. Not that any of this was discussed in the NAR's press release on the matter, of course. As for projecting increases in 2008, given that outfits like Countrywide are now pink-slipping up to 12,000 and have said that originations will drop an additional 25 percent in 2008 from their already depressed 2007 levels, there is a clear disconnect between realtor's expectations and market reality.