Despite a slight rise in third-quarter home sales, analysts are predicting that a slowdown in the fourth quarter is imminent. Yet the numbers still are expected to be at or above year-ago levels, meaning that 1999 is on pace to be another strong year.

Though it is not likely that 1999 will continue the four-year trend of setting home-sales records, Walter Molony, a spokesman for the National Association of Realtors, said this year is on pace to be either the second- or third-best year on record.

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