Experts Forecast 2007 U.S. Real Estate Market Trends

by : Real Estate Advisor

Modest median price gains in new and existing homes, a stable interest rate on the 30-year fixed mortgage, decreased housing starts and a stable unemployment rate are some of the features of the 2007 housing forecast provided by major trade group economists as reported by The Inman News.

NAR chief economist David Lereah expects new-home sales to fall from 1.07 million units sold in 2006 to 975,000 units in 2007, which is an 8.7% decline. He cites decreased new home construction as a large contributing factor to this change. The median new home price of $238,400 in 2006 is expected to increase by 1.3 percent to $241,400 in 2007.

NAR also predicts that existing home sales figures for 2006 to end around 6.47 million units, which is an 8.6% decline from 2005. The 2007 forecast for existing home sales is 6.43 million units. The median price of existing homes in 2006 was $223,700 and is expected to increase 1.7% to $227,500 in 2007.

Doug Duncan, chief economist for the Mortgage Bankers Association predicts the interest rates on 30-year fixed mortgages to stay around 6.5 percent, but mortgage originations to fall 14% to $2.1 trillion.

While Lereah predicts that the unemployment rate to stay at 4.7 percent, Duncan takes it higher and believes it may reach 5.2 percent by midyear 2007. However, he concurs with Lereah in predicting modest home price gains in new and existing homes for the coming year.

The housing forecast of The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) is in line with NAR and the Mortgage Bankers Association. According to David Seiders, Chief Economist at NAHB, the year 2007 will see the housing market re-adjust itself once the housing demand stabilizes, leading to a healthy balance between supply and demand.

Looking at the state level, the California Association of Realtors (CAR) projects that the median price of California homes will end 2006 around $560,700, and will decline in 2007 to $550,000 -- a 1.7% drop. The number of units sold in California will end 2006 around 481,200, and is projected to decrease 447,500 in 2007. CAR predicts that the unemployment rate will stay around 5.1 percent, although interest rates on the 30-year fixed mortgage may hover around 6.7 percent in 2007.

The overall housing forecast for 2007 made by these four major real estate trade groups is not at all bad. Home buyers and investors planning to go ahead with their real estate activities can fare better with the help of a good real estate agent.