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House sales slump to new record low

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2010-03-24

The United States's morose housing market dropped for a fourth consecutive month in January, setting a new monthly record low of only 308,000 homes sold.

AFP - New-home sales in the United States hit a record low for the second consecutive month in February, according to government figures released Wednesday.

The Commerce Department said sales of single-family homes dropped 2.2 percent in February against the month before.

Some 308,000 units were sold in January -- on a seasonally adjusted annual rate -- the lowest figure since 1963 when records began.

That represents the forth straight monthly drop in new-home sales for a market that was at the epicenter of the global financial crisis.

The densely populated northeast of the country, which saw heavy snowfalls and bad weather throughout much of February, took the brunt of the fall off.

The government said new-home sales there were down 20 percent against January levels, and reached the lowest rate since last May.

On Monday, the National Association of Realtors reported a moderate drop in existing home sales for February, warning that cold weather was playing a big part in dampening the market.

"Some closings were simply postponed by winter storms, but buyers couldn't get out to look at homes in some areas and that should negatively impact near-term contract activity," said Lawrence Yun, the association's chief economist.

The Commerce Department also reported Wednesday that country-wide the average new home sold for 282,600 dollars in February and that its January estimate for sales was up to 315,000.

Date created : 2010-03-24