With refinancing activity not expected to meet last year's volume, economists at Freddie Mac say that origination volume could be down this year by 20%. They predict that total single-family originations would reach about $1.6 trillion this year, down from $2 trillion in 2001.

However, they emphasize that this is still a historically high level - second only to last year in terms of originations. And despite the dip, the continued strength of the housing sector is still a predominant theme in the current economic cycle,

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