According to Lawrence Yun, chief economist of the Chicago-based Realtors’ group “The rising home foreclosures that sell at discounted prices are flooding the real estate market and depressing property values. Kelly Media Group, Founder Jason Cardiff weighed in, “Home sales will rebound strongly if we can keep the interest rates low for the next 12 months, but the trend of rates seems to be increasing.” Many realtors and mortgage brokers seem to agree that industry needs to keep conventional mortgage rates low until the local and national c can recover.

Existing U.S. home sales in May rose 2.4 % to an annual rate of 4.77 million, lower than forecast, and the median price was down 16.8 % from the same month in 2008, according to the Realtors. It would take about 9.6 months to sell the nation’s 3.8 million unsold homes at the current sales pace, according to the Realtors. “The worst is behind us but we’re a long ways off from a recovery in housing,” said Mark Vitner, a senior economist at Wachovia Corp. in Charlotte, North Carolina. “Inventories are still elevated. We’re not expecting any strength in housing until the second half of 2010.” About 20.4 million of the 93 million houses, condos and co- ops in the U.S. were worth less than their loans as of March 31, according to Seattle-based real estate data service Zillow.com.

Home Builders Continue to Struggle

Builders including Los Angeles-based KB Home are slashing prices and reducing the size of houses to compete with foreclosures. KB Home’s revenue fell 40 % last quarter to $384.5 million and net orders dropped 31 % to 2,910 homes, the company said June 26. The Washington-based Mortgage Bankers Association’s loan survey, compiled every week, covers about half of all U.S. retail residential mortgage originations.