Home prices are expected to grow modestly during 2010 and sales should keep slowly rising as the housing market continues to recover, the National Association of Realtors® (NAR) reported yesterday.

National home re-sales are projected to total 5.7 million next year, up from about 5 million this year. NAR is estimating prices will climb about 4 percent after a projected decline of 13 percent in ’09 according to NAR’s chief economist.

Locally for the entry-level homes (under $500,00), I see the bottom as being clearly here now. First-time buyers accounted for a record 47 percent of home sales this year, up from 41 percent last year. And with the recent extension of the first time buyer federal tax credit, entry-level inventory should continue to tighten up.

On the flip side more than half the inventory is above entry-level prices, so it's those properties and those potential buyers that will tell the rest of the real estate story during 2010.