US new home sales drop/factory orders tumble
There is more bad news for the US economy today as the Commerce Department revealed that new home sales fell by 14.7% last month.
Meanwhile, for the full 2008 year, sales fell by 37.8% to 482,000 homes – the fewest since 1982, when 412,000 homes were sold.
However, on a positive note, while sales of new homes have fallen, the slump in house prices are encouraging people to buy existing homes.
Figures earlier this week from the National Association of Realtors revealed that sales of existing homes increased 6.5% in December.
However, housing starts fell 15.5%, to an annually-adjusted 550,000, well below analysts expectations of 605,000, and the lowest figure since records began in 1959.
In related news, the Commerce Department also said today that orders for long-lasting goods fell 2.6% in December – the fifth consecutive monthly fall.
Meanwhile, factory orders for the full 2008 year declined by 5.7%, while the fall in November was revised down to 3.7%.
Orders for motor vehicles and parts also declined by 5.2%, while orders for commercial aircraft fell by a massive 44%.
It was unveiled today that President Barack Obama’s $819 billion (£572 billion) economic stimulus package has been approved by the US House of Representatives.
Furthermore, the US Federal Reserve opted to keep interest rates at a range of zero to 0.25% yesterday.