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Housing market could pick up in 2008

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Locally, 2008 could be the year the housing market picks up. Everybody has been talking about the housing market. Economists think it will bottom out later in the year and then pick up. Overall, realtors will tell you the softer market is a sign things have returned to a more normal level of activity. Economists predict the downswing will continue to play out until the second or third quarter of the year, then start to improve.. More good news is the state of the tourism industry, which is a key driver of Wilmington's economy. Economists say it has rebounded well from the post 9-11 era. UNCW's senior economist Dr. Woody Hall said, "The numbers show that the room occupancy tax and retail sales tax collections suggest we've rebounded quite dramatically from the downturn that tourism took in the early part of the decade." The other hot topic of course is the price of gas. Economists say it's hard to tell what it will do, but it will be heavily dependent on the weather and political turmoil. We've have been hearing the word recession a lot lately, but local economists agree with the white house, and say the outlook doesn't call for a recession. But they're going to be watching consumers closely.

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