July New Home Sales Down

New home sales fell by 4.3 percent in July to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.072 million units, the Commerce Department said Thursday.

The drop in July was the largest decline since an 11.5 percent plunge in February, showing proof that the nationwide housing market is cooling down.

The median price, a typical market price where half of new homes are sold for more and half for less, was 230,000 U.S. dollars in July, down from 233,800 dollars in June but up from 229,200 dollars a year ago.

On Wednesday, the National Association of Realtors reported that sales of previously owned homes in July dropped 4.1 percent from June to its lowest level since January 2004.

Spurred by the lowest mortgage rates in four decades, sales of both new and existing homes had set records for five consecutive years since 2001. But in 2006, the housing market has cooled as mortgage rates steadily rose. Analysts expect home sales to drop by some 10 percent this year.

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