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Home Sales, Durable Goods Orders Sink

May 26, 2004
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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. new home sales tumbled last month and durable goods orders were also much weaker than expected, according to government data on Wednesday, signaling the country's housing boom may finally be coming to an end.

April sales of new U.S. homes suffered their largest monthly drop in 10 years as rising mortgage rates cooled the housing market from the previous month's record high.

New U.S. home sales fell 11.8 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.093 million units from an upwardly revised record high of 1.239 million in March, the Commerce Department said.

Analysts polled by Reuters were expecting sales to ease to a 1.200 million unit pace.

April's rate was the lowest level of new home sales since November in what is normally the peak season for real estate sales and the largest monthly drop since January 1994.

The dollar softened on the housing numbers and U.S. government bonds continued the strong footing achieved after the Commerce Department said durable goods orders, big-ticket items meant to last at least three years, fell 2.9 percent.

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