NEW YORK Forecasters expect the median price of U.S. homes to fall between 1 percent and 2 percent this year in what would be the first such decline since 1950, when federal agencies began tracking such statistics, the New York Times reported on Sunday.
The Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight is scheduled to release the home-price index on Thursday, and research firm Global Insight expects it to show a decline of about 1 percent between the first and second quarter, according to the newspaper.
Global Insight also expects the decline of U.S. home prices to peak at 4 percent between their highest point in 2007 and the projected low point in 2009, the New York Times said.
The New York Times said other forecasters expect the index to climb slightly in the second quarter before falling later this year.
"For most people, this is not a disaster," Global Insight economist Nigel Gault told the newspaper. "But it's enough to cause them to pull back."
Last week, Countrywide Financial Corp Chief Executive Angelo Mozilo said the U.S. housing downturn was likely to lead the country into a recession.
(Reporting by Justin Grant)