New-home sales plummet to all-time low


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The bad news continued to mount Wednesday for the nation's housing sector with the release of July's new-home sales figure.

Sales of new homes slumped 12.4 percent between June and July, a government report shows. The annualized new-home sales pace is just 276,000 - the lowest level ever recorded.

The Commerce Department's release comes on the heels of an equally lackluster existing-home sales report. The National Association of Realtors, an industry group, reported Tuesday that sales of existing homes fell 27.2 percent between June and July. Single-family home sales - which form the bulk of the home-sales figure - are at levels not seen since 1995.

Consumers' tepid interest in new-home purchases may serve to depress homebuilder confidence even further. Builder sentiment is already at low levels: The National Association of Home Builders, another industry group, reported two weeks ago that its builder confidence index is at its lowest point since March 2009.

It's unclear when home sales will pick up. What is clear, Wells Fargo economist Mark Vitner said Wednesday to the Washington Post, is that "consumers are holding back on committing to major purchases."

By Benjamin Foster ADNFCR-1724-ID-19930831-ADNFCR

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

This article appears in: Personal Finance , Business , Real Estate , US Markets
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