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NOVEMBER NEW HOME SALES IN HOLDING PATTERN

 NOVEMBER NEW HOME SALES IN HOLDING PATTERN
 WASHINGTON, Dec. 31 /PRNewswire/ -- Although several market


indicators point to a rebound in the housing market, new home sales in November remained in a holding pattern, at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 520,000, the same as October, the Commerce Department reported today.
 "Real estate prices are stable, mortgage rates have already declined a half point since November, and a shrinking inventory of unsold homes makes this a great time to buy a new house," said National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) President Mark Ellis Tipton. "The problem is that consumer confidence remains low because of uncertainty over jobs and the economy."
 Despite the fact that new home sales nationwide were virtually unchanged, there were wide fluctuations regionally. Sales in the Northeast plunged 44.6 percent and fell 8.6 percent in the Midwest. They rose 9 percent in the South and 14.1 percent in the West.
 "The figures show a real bright spot in the West, and the last few months indicate the market there has stabilized," said Tipton. "There is no apparent reason for the downturn in the Northeast, and I expect an upward revision in these numbers."
 Mortgage interest rates are near a 20-year low following the Federal Reserve's recent one-point cut in the discount rate, but lower interest rates alone are not proving sufficient to bring about economic growth and restore consumer confidence.
 "Congress and the administration must move quickly in early 1992 to enact housing tax incentives as part of an overall economic recovery package," said Tipton. "A one-year $2,000 tax credit for families buying their first home would create 500,000 new jobs and stimulate construction of an additional 265,000 affordable homes."
 The tax credit proposal has strong support among the American people and on both sides of the political spectrum. According to a recent Wall Street Journal/NBC survey, 85 percent of those polled favored a tax credit for first-time home buyers as a way to stimulate today's anemic economy.
 NAHB is projecting 500,000 new home sales in 1991, down from 534,000 in 1990 and 750,000 in 1986, when the market was at its peak.
 -0- 12/31/91
 /CONTACT: Jay Shackford of the National Association of Home Builders, 202-822-0406/ CO: National Association of Home Builders ST: District of Columbia IN: CST SU: ECO


DC-MH -- DC008 -- 5885 12/31/91 12:55 EST
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Date:Dec 31, 1991
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