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SALES OF NEW HOMES TUMBLE 16.9% TO RECORD LOW

By Steve Goldstein - MarketWatch
Sales of new single-family homes collapsed in February, the Commerce Department reported Wednesday, as a combination of high unemployment, tumbling prices and a glut of cheaper alternatives brought activity to a near-standstill.

New-home sales fell 16.9% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 250,000 in February, though January's figures were revised higher to 301,000 from 284,000. Compared to February 2010, sales collapsed by 28%.

Every region but the West saw record lows, and in the Northeast, sales dropped by 50% compared to year-earlier levels. Read “Dismal home-sales data tell us nothing new.”

“The housing market has literally collapsed,” said Tony Sanders, a real estate finance professor at George Mason University. “We're stuck, it's not going to revive in the spring and may not in the summer.”

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