The sagging economy still weighed heavy on the National Association of Home Builders’ International Builders’ Show Jan. 12-15 in Orlando, Fla. The ever-so-slow recovery, which David Crowe, chief economist for NAHB, labeled “a constant annoyance,” was the chief subject of conversations. Crowe admitted that, like most other economists, he was more optimistic at the beginning of 2010 than he was at the end of the year. Sales figures for single-family homes in 2010 were up, though just 7% higher than those of 2009, the worst year of the downturn. Crowe predicts growth of single-family home sales of 21% this year over last year. He expects house prices nationally to neither rise nor fall overall in 2011. He foresees some softness in prices of both the value of new and resale home prices this spring declining between 1% to 1.5%. Local markets vary significantly on all counts and can be volatile, he cautioned.