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New Home Sales Fall 3.7 Percent

August 2, 2000

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Sales of new homes fell 3.7 percent in June to the slowest sales pace in more than two years as rising mortgage rates took more of a bite out of the booming housing market.

The Commerce Department reported Wednesday that the June decline was the third straight drop in new home sales, pushing the seasonally adjusted annual sales rate down to 829,000 units, the lowest since December 1997.

New home sales had fallen 0.9 percent in May and were off 8.2 percent in April, reflecting the impact of the Federal Reserve’s campaign to push interest rates higher in an effort to slow the economy.

Mortgage rates hit a five-year high of 8.64 percent in mid-May, although they have been dropping a bit in recent weeks. Last week, the nationwide average for 30-year mortgages was 8.13 percent.

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