over the next six months, according to a survey of 350 members by the National Association of Home Builders. The trade group's housing market index was 67 in April, unchanged from March. The index peaked at 68 in February. An index of 50 means that roughly equal numbers of builders report good and poor conditions. The April index measuring current sales was 70, down from 71 in March. Builder expectations of sales for the next six months were 77 on the index, up from 74 in March. Prospective buyers looking at homes held steady on the index at 55. The report noted that some builders are reporting shortages of skilled labor and finished lots available for single-family development. Separately, the National Association of Realtors officially revised its forecast for 1998 existing-home sales to 4.35 million units. That would make this the third straight record-setting year for home resales. The group projects that existing-home prices would rise 3.9%, to a median of $128,900, and new-home prices would rise 5.9%, to $153,200.
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