With growth in the housing market slowing from its record pace, some industry experts fear that lenders may be loosening their standards to make up for lost volume.

Housing industry economists say the market remains nearly as strong as it was last year. But lenders "are hungry for earnings maintenance and are reaching down," said Weston Edwards, chairman of the Housing Roundtable and head of the consulting firm Weston Edwards & Associates, Laguna Beach, Calif.

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