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The housing sector will do quite well through 2004 in the economic and financial market climate portrayed in the consensus outlook. There will be some fade in home sales and housing starts as interest rates gravitate upward in 2004, but sales for the year are likely to be the second highest on record and total housing starts are likely to be around 1.7 million units — off only 5% from 2003’s surging pace. Conventionally built single-family units will continue to account for about 80% of all new housing units produced, while the multifamily market will soften and shipments of manufactured homes will stage only a minor recovery from the historic lows in 2003.

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