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Mild fall in sales of new homes

July 26, 2008|From the Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Sales of new homes fell in June for the seventh time in the last eight months, but the decline was less than expected, raising faint hopes that the nation's severe housing recession could be approaching a bottom.

The Commerce Department reported Friday that sales of new single-family homes dropped 0.6% last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 530,000 units. That was less than half the decline that had been expected, and the May performance was revised up a bit.

Even with the changes, new-home sales were down a sharp 33.2% from a year ago, showing the severity of the slump.

But some analysts saw cause for optimism that the worst of the decline could be drawing to a close, especially if a sweeping housing rescue package pending in Congress can slow foreclosures and spur sales to first-time home buyers.

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