The prices of existing and new homes are expected to bounce back next year after a dreary 2007, a real estate trade group said Wednesday.

The National Association of Realtors also said it expects existing-home sales to rise to nearly 6.4 million in 2008, up from the 2007 estimate of more than 6.1 million. Nearly 6.5 million existing homes were sold in 2006, the association said.

As for new homes, sales are projected at 865,000 in 2007 and 878,000 next year, but the 2008 projection would still be down more than 20 percent compared with the nearly 1.1 million new homes sold in 2006.

More than 1.4 million housing starts, including multifamily units, are forecast this year and in 2008, but that is down from 1.8 million last year.

Existing-home prices are expected to gain 1.8 percent to a median of $222,700 in 2008 after a 1.4 percent decline this year to $218,800, the according said. The median new-home price should rise 2.2 percent to $222,700 next year after a 2.6 percent drop to $240,100 in 2007.

"Markets that sharply reduce new construction in 2007 will generally experience respectable price increases in 2008," Lawrence Yun, NAR senior economist, said in a release. "Buyers now have an overwhelming advantage given the wide selection of homes available in many markets. But with profit margins coming under pressure, homebuilders will limit new construction well into 2008."