4.94 mln houses to be sold in the US in 2008, prices to fall 2%

Existing home sales will decline 13% to about 4.94 mln units in 2008, compared with 2007. But sales will pick up 4% in 2009, the Mortgage Bankers Aassociation predicts. Sales of new homes will decline 15% in 2008 to 666K units; sales should pick up 7% in 2009. Median home prices for new and existing homes should decline in 2008, with nominal median prices falling 2%. Prices are expected to increase between 1% and 2% in 2009.