Housing Market: Realtors Lower Sales, Price Outlook

WASHINGTON (AP) - The National Association of Realtors expects the national median price for existing homes to drop this year for the first time since the trade group began keeping records in the late 1960s.

The group has also lowered its 2007 sales forecast for new and existing homes. A spokesman says tighter lending standards and the continued fallout from the subprime mortgage market are to blame.

The realtors group forecasts a seven-tenths-of-one-percent dip in 2007 for the national median price for existing homes after a one-percent gain last year. The median price is where half sell for more and half sell for less.

The national median new-home sale price is seen rising just four-tenths of one percent after a gain of one-point-eight percent last year.

N-A-R now forecasts a 14 percent decline in new home sales compared to its previous estimate of a nearly ten-and-a-half-percent slide.