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U.S. consumer confidence steady, new home sales up

Staff Writer |
U.S. consumer confidence held steady in July and new single-family home sales hit their highest level in nearly 8-1/2 years in June.

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Other data showed moderate gains in house prices in May, which should support consumer spending and keep home purchasing affordable, especially for first-time buyers who have started venturing into the housing market.

The Conference Board said its consumer index was 97.3 this month after a reading of 97.4 in June.

The largely unchanged data followed Britain’s stunning vote last month to leave the European Union, which rattled global financial markets and led to a dip in other sentiment measures.

The Commerce Department said new home sales increased 3.5% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 592,000 units last month, the highest level since February 2008.

Economists polled by Reuters had forecast new home sales, which account for about 9.6% of the housing market, rising to a rate of 560,000 units last month.

Sales were up 25.4% from a year ago. Last month’s increase left new home sales in the second quarter well above their average for the first three months of the year.

The housing market is gaining speed with a report last week showing home resales vaulted to near a 9-1/2-year high in June. At the same time, single-family housing starts increased solidly in June.


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