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WASHINGTON – Most experts have cited the housing market as being the one bright spot in an otherwise soft economy over the past several months, and some have even credited the vitality of the market for helping to temper the country’s economic recession. But things may be beginning to change. The National Association of Homebuilders reported that U.S. homebuilders are expecting a 3.4% drop in housing starts in 2003. This will coincide, said the association, with rising interest rates, NAH Chief Economist David Seiders said the association predicts 30-year fixed-rate mortgage interest rates will reach 6.5% by the end of the year.

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