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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

ICBA Chief Economist Forecasts Housing Market Headed For Another Robust Year
Merski Says Home Prices to Cool

Washington, D.C. (June 15, 2005) - Paul Merski, chief economist for the Independent Community Bankers of America, today said that from all indications the current robust real estate market should continue into 2006. "With the housing market well on track for another record setting year, lenders are being especially diligent in their housing lending practices," Merski said. "Notably, borrowing rates and the housing demand and supply equation all remain in a reasonable range that should foster high single digit appreciation in home prices for 2005."

Merski said that community banks are playing a key role in advancing homeownership, since "community banks across the country are working in their communities to find affordable solutions for more Americans to purchase homes."

Merski was participating in Homeownership Alliance call with other leading economists about the outlook for the housing and mortgage finance markets for the remainder of 2005 and into 2006.

For more information about the call, visit: www.homeownershipalliance.com.

To interview Paul Merski, contact Karen Tyson at karen.tyson@icba.org.




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