Sales of existing home declined 1.1% in September, to an annualized rate of 4.68 million units, the National Association of Realtors reported Monday.

It was the second decline since July, when existing homes sold at a rate of 4.91 million, but economists said the residential real estate market remains strong.

"I don't think this is a trend; it's possible sales will snap right back up even higher next month," said Dr. Fred Flick, the trade group's vice president of economic research.

David A. Lereah, chief economist for the Mortgage Bankers Association, agreed that home sales will remain at a healthy level for the remainder of this year, but is less optimistic for 1999.

"We're expecting a good October and November, but the economy is slowing because of world crises and the stock market is coming down, and that will dampen the appetite for home buying."

-Hala Habal

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