WASHINGTON — Though the economy may slow to near-zero growth in the first half of the year, housing continues to be the most stable sector, according to the National Association of Realtors.

In the broader economy, a brief dip to zero or negative growth, followed shortly by a rebound, is increasingly likely, said Dr. David Lereah, chief economist at the real estate trade group.

“This should result in a V-shaped graph in the real gross domestic product, stimulated by lower interest rates and historically strong home sales,” he said. “We project existing-home sales to slip 0.8% this year, but the total of 4.97 million units would match the third-best year on record.”

The association expects new home sales to drop 3.2%, to 873,000 units this year, while housing starts are forecast to decline 1.4%, to 1.58 million units this year.

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