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P.M. BRIEFING : Home Sales Rise on Lower Interest

June 29, 1989| From Times wire services

WASHINGTON — Sales of new homes edged up 2.7% in May as mortgage interest rates continued to decline, but they remained well behind the pace set in the previous two years, the government reported today.

The Commerce Department said sales of new single-family homes rose to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 613,000 units in May following a 9.1% increase in April. The April figure was revised downward from the 10.9% increase reported earlier.

The April increase had been attributed by some economists to an aberration in sales in February and March, when sales dropped 11.3% and 11.9%, respectively. Sales had risen 4.6% in January.

The pace of sales in May still was well behind the 676,000 new homes sold in 1988 and the 671,000 units sold in 1987.

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