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Home sales data sets record lows

Home sales

Home sales

Sales of newly-constructed, single-family homes in July hit an all-time low in the 47 years that the U.S. Commerce Department has been compiling such numbers, capping a week of rapid-fire bad news on the housing front.

Data released Wednesday show 276,600 sales, a seasonally-adjusted figure that was a 12.4 percent drop from June. Despite the federal home buyers tax credit, which had been scheduled to end in June, the last three months have been the worst on record for sales of newly-built homes.

On Long Island and Queens, July closings sank 53.4 percent from June, according to the latest data from the Multiple Listing Service of Long Island. There were 1,858 closings last month and 3,985 in June, which was a 15-year high for the area.

Those figures, especially the one for July, are expected to change because many agents report closings late to MLS. But while a big drop was not unexpected, the decrease was worse than the one nationwide.

The National Association of Realtors said Tuesday that July sales of previously-owned homes reached an all-time low since the group began compiling such numbers in 1999. Figures show sales falling 27.7 percent from June and 25.5 percent from a year ago, when the nation was in turmoil over the Wall Street bailouts, the federal loan modification and refinance program and more.

In the past 15 years on Long Island and Queens, the all-time low in closings came in February 1995, with 1,133 deals, MLSLI said. That low followed the layoffs of thousands of Long Island workers by major firms and governments, as well as massive state and local budget cuts.

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