updated 4/12/2007 3:03:13 PM ET 2007-04-12T19:03:13

The National Association of Realtors on Wednesday said it expects the national median price for existing homes to drop this year for the first time since the trade group began keeping records in the late 1960s.

The group also lowered its 2007 sales forecast for new and existing homes. Tighter lending standards and the continued fallout from the subprime mortgage market are to blame, NAR spokesman Walter Molony said in an interview.

NAR is forecasting a 0.7 percent dip in 2007 for the national median price for existing homes after a 1 percent gain last year.

The national median new home sale price is projected to rise 0.4 percent after a 1.8 percent gain last year, according to the association.

However, NAR forecasts a 14.2 percent decline in new home sales compared to its previous estimate of a 10.4 percent slide.

The group estimates that existing home sales will fall 2.2 percent this year, compared to a previous forecast of a 0.9 percent decline.

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