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30-city real estate outlook

As a result, Winzer says, folks will be spending less in the next few years, partly out of caution, because of the lack of credit, and partly because they feel they don't have the financial assets, in terms of home value, behind them.

"It will keep a number of people out of the housing market and price increases relatively low, and it's going to last for a while," he says. Those double-digit increases won't happen again for another five to 10 years, depending on population growth, Winzer says.

Aiding that will be financing initiatives, including the decision by Congress in the economic stimulus package to increase maximum amounts of conforming loans in some markets. The association forecasts that higher loan limits will result in a rise in home sales and prices.

Also, the NAR says it expects 30-year fixed-rate mortgages to average 6.3 percent in 2009.

Another factor will be a rebound in the FHA market, which Fears says is more affected by helping borrowers stay in good standing, compared to subprime loans.

FHA rates also are about 3 percentage points less than those in subprime market which is an "incredible improvement in affordability," Fears says.

 

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