Page last updated at 14:52 GMT, Thursday, 24 April 2008 15:52 UK

US new home sales at 16-year low

US home for sale
House prices are slumping after a five year boom

Sales of new homes in the US fell more than expected in March to their lowest level since late 1991.

Sales fell 8.5% from February to a seasonally adjusted 526,000 homes, according to the Commerce Department.

The median price of a home was down 13.3% from March 2007, which is the biggest fall since July 1970.

Sales were down in all regions of the country, with the biggest falls coming in the north-east of the country, where sales declined by 19.4%.

In other economic news, the Commerce Department said that orders for manufactured items such as fridges and washing machines from US factories fell 0.3% in March.

It means that so-called durable goods orders have fallen for three months in a row, which has not happened since 2001.

But there was some better news, with the Labor Department announcing that the number of newly laid-off workers claiming unemployment benefit fell 33,000 last week to 342,000.

The figure had been expected to rise.

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific