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KNOXVILLE — With thousands of homes, condominiums and apartments under construction, Knoxville is a growing city that has escaped the national housing slump.

That good news — along with an analysis of the city and state economies — will be the focus the 2007 State of Tennessee Economic and Housing Summit to be held Feb. 20 at the University of Tennessee.

More than 300 commercial and residential builders, building suppliers and business students are expected to attend the 6-8:30 p.m. program which will include dinner in the University Center ballroom and a panel discussion in the auditorium.

Participating in the panel discussion will be

• Dale Akins, a UT alumnus and president of The Market Edge, a Knoxville-based information reporting service that collects data on new subdivisions, developments, building permits, employment and population for counties in East Tennessee and parts of Kentucky, Indiana, Virginia, South Carolina, North Carolina and Georgia. He will speak on the 2007 housing market prediction.

• Bill Fox, professor and director of UT’s Center for Business and Economic Research, which earlier this week released its annual Economic Report to the Governor of the State of Tennessee. He will speak on the Tennessee economy.

• Knoxville Mayor Bill Haslam, who will talk about Knoxville’s economy. He will speak on the economic future of Knoxville.

• Gene Patterson, WATE-TV anchor, who will emcee the event.

“We’re excited to be hosting this event and giving our students the chance to hear from some of our economic leaders in these areas,” said Tom Boehm, UT’s AmSouth Scholar and finance professor, who is helping to organize the housing summit.

CBER’s Economic Report to the Governor said the sagging national housing market, and to a lesser extent, higher interest rates and energy prices, are primary factors contributing to the country’s economic slowdown. Nationwide, housing starts were down by nearly 13 percent last year, and housing prices fell in many markets across the country, the report said.

Despite national housing woes, the local market has remained strong.

“Local building permits dropped a bit in 2006, but the 2007 prediction is that we’ll continue to have strong demand and see a rebound in the spring and summer,” Akins said. “There are some markets that are suffering, but that doesn’t mean the whole country is doing bad. The Knoxville housing market is overall in pretty good shape. Knoxville is a growing city.”

Cost of attending the summit is $25.

For more information about the event, including a registration form, see:

Amy Blakely, (865) 974-5034,