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Last Updated: Tuesday, 2 October 2007, 15:40 GMT 16:40 UK
US homes sales plumb record low
US homes
The weakness in the US housing market shows no sign of improving
Pending sales of US homes fell to a record low in August as would-be homebuyers had difficulty obtaining mortgages from cautious lenders.

The National Association of Realtors said its index of pending sales fell 6.5% in August to 85.5.

This was the lowest reading since records began in January 2001 and was down 21.5% from a year ago.

With defaults rising among borrowers with weak credit, lenders have backed off from all but the safest mortgages.

Housing market woes

The US housing market has faltered over the past year in the face of higher interest rates, and home repossessions have soared.

The sub-prime mortgage market, which specialises in offering high-interest loans to low-income or higher-risk borrowers, has also all but collapsed and exposure to such high-risk loans has created turmoil in financial markets world wide.

Nothing is going to turn around quickly. It will probably be a year before it gets better
Bob Moulton, president of Americana Mortgage Group.

This has led to banks having to bail out a number of sub-prime lenders.

"It continues to follow the downward trend. Nothing is going to turn around quickly," said Bob Moulton, president of Americana Mortgage Group.

"It will probably be a year before it gets better. You have similar issues in all areas of the country."

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