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Housing sales cruising to a soft landing

WASHINGTON – Sales of existing homes and new housing starts both tumbled in December, but the decline was in line with National Association of Realtors (NAR) projections for a “soft landing” from the red-hot real estate market of recent years.

Sales of mostly moderately-priced existing homes, the lion's share of the U.S. housing market, fell by 5.7 percent in December to a seasonally adjusted level of 6.6 million units. Housing starts for the month dropped by 8.9 percent to a level of 1.93 million units.

David Lereah, NAR chief economist, said, "This is part of the market adjustment we've been discussing, with a soft landing in sight for the housing sector. The level of home sales activity is now at a sustainable level, and is likely to pick up a bit in the months ahead."

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