Plunge in Home Sales Stokes Economy Fears


SUDEEP REDDY And NICK TIMIRAOS
The Wall Street Journal
August 25, 2010

  • A d v e r t i s e m e n t
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U.S. home sales plummeted in July to a level not seen in more than a decade, spurring fears of renewed weakness in housing prices and the broader economy.

Sales of previously owned homes fell 27.2% from June to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 3.83 million, the National Association of Realtors said Tuesday, the lowest level since the industry group started its tally in 1999.

he expiration of a home-buyer tax credit in the spring was expected to damp buying, though less severely. Economists said the sales drop—together with a corresponding rise in the inventory of unsold homes—meant another decline in housing prices was on the horizon. House prices had stabilized last year after declining since 2006.

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High unemployment and meager wage growth already are driving many Americans’ reluctance to make major purchases, so a return of falling home equity could further depress confidence and consumer spending.

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