Jim Haughey, chief economist with Reed Construction Data, shared his forecasts last week during the group’s 2009 market insights webcast, and seemed to be slightly more negative as compared to other forecasters (CLICK HERE for another residential outlook story), when it came to the residential market. He agrees that the market will begin to pick up but says there is still a long way to go.Haughey said the economic environment for construction through 2010 is faced with a number of challenges, including sub-par GDP growth through 2011.And, while spending confidence is up, it is still depressed.

“We’ll also see residential foreclosures continue through next year [though it will begin to slow,” he said.

Haughey added though that housing starts are beginning to pick up.

“We’re seeing progressive gains in housing, but we’re still a long ways below where we were in 2007,” he said. “The housing market is growing, but will stay depressed for at least two more years.”

His overall prediction for single-family homes: Haughey expects to see 54 percent growth in units (not dollars).

“The market will move from the worst we’ve ever seen to just miserable.”

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