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Another positive prediction for the housing market this week, as the National Association of Realtors released their latest forecast for 2011 during the group's annual conference in New Orleans.

Unfortunately, it is the NAR, so we have to take it with a grain of salt. (Although in all fairness, the group has gotten a lot better since the days of David Lereah's Baghdad Bob-esque pronouncements as the market collapsed.)

NAR is predicting 5.1 million existing home sales next year, up from a projected 4.8 million this year. Chief economist Lawrence Yun said the group is putting housing starts at 716,000, up from 598,000.

More from Yun:

“Existing-home sales have shown some improvement but the foreclosure moratorium is likely to cause some disruption and contribute to an uneven sales performance in the months ahead,” he said. “Nonetheless, there appears to be a pent-up demand that eventually will be unleashed as banks resolve their issues with foreclosures and the labor market improves. However, tight credit and appraisals coming in below a negotiated price continue to constrain the market.”

And here's your useless trivia for the day: The NAR's Chicago headquarters at 430 N. Michigan is the same building that served as the exterior of Bob Newhart's office on the old "The Bob Newhart Show." (It's since been remodeled.)

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