Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Existing Home Sales Fall 2.8 percent

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This from Reuters, via ABC News:
The U.S. economy grew at an upwardly revised but still-weak 1.6 percent annual rate in the fourth quarter, while sales of existing homes tumbled in January, according to data on Tuesday that led financial markets to scale back bets of interest-rate hikes.

Economic forecasters say that after turning in its weakest performance in three years, the economy has picked up the pace in the first quarter, although the housing sector appears to be a drag.

Sales of existing homes fell 2.8 percent last month to a 6.56 million unit annual rate, the National Association of Realtors said. At that pace, the inventory of unsold homes marked a 5.3 months' supply, the highest since August 1998.

After the housing data was released, traders trimmed bets on the degree to which the Federal Reserve might have to push up interest rates to ensure the economy does not overheat.

— The Boy in the Big Housing Bubble