US newhome sales fell 68 pct in June possible sign of hot

In this June 4, 2015, photo, a sign indicates a site has been sold in a new home development in Nashville, Tenn. The Commerce Department reports on sales of new homes in June on Friday, July 24, 2015. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey) WASHINGTON – Fewer Americans bought new homes in June, a possible sign that the real estate market might not be as hot as it appeared at the start of summer.The Commerce Department said Friday that new-home sales slumped 6.8 per cent last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 482,000. The report also revised May sales down to a rate of 517,000 from 546,000.The June slowdown indicates the potential limits of the earlier momentum. A nearly two-year hiring streak and low mortgage rates had been spurring stronger sales through much of the year. New-home purchases have vaulted up 21.2 per cent through the first half of 2015, although the government sales report is volatile on a monthly basis.Jennifer Lee, a senior economist at BMO Capital Markets, said the decline “poured cold water on the festive tones” from past reports of accelerating sales.Some analysts downplayed the report as representing a sliver of the real estate market.“While the June report is disappointing, new-home sales represents a small portion of total home sales (just 8 per cent),” said Bricklin Dwyer, an analyst at the bank BNP Paribas.But last month’s slump could muddle expectations that the real estate sector will spur stronger economic growth in the coming months.The median sales price has slipped 1.8 per cent to $281,800 over the past 12 months. Buying fell in the Midwest, South and West, while rising sharply in the Northeast.Supplies remain remarkably tight with few new listings coming onto the market and construction expanding at a slower pace than sales of new homes. That may be a sign that the current strength in the market could wane as would-be buyers become frustrated by their limited options.There are 5.4 months’ supply of new homes available, compared to six months in a healthy market. Construction of single-family houses has risen 9.1 per cent year to date, less than half the pace of sales growth for new homes.There are other reports that the housing sector carried its previous momentum through June.Sales of existing homes increased 3.2 per cent last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.49 million, the National Association of Realtors said Wednesday. The shortage of new listings has fueled higher prices. The median home value has risen 6.5 per cent over the past year to $236,400, the highest figure — not adjusted for inflation — documented by the Realtors.Much of the additional demand has emerged from consistently solid hiring and low mortgage rates. Employers added 3.1 million jobs last year and are on pace to add 2.5 million jobs this year.Borrowing costs are rising but have stayed low by historical standards.The average 30-year fixed rate was 4.04 per cent last week, according to the mortgage giant Freddie Mac. That average has increased from a 52-week low of 3.59 per cent. by Josh Boak, The Associated Press Posted Jul 24, 2015 8:02 am MDT Last Updated Jul 24, 2015 at 9:00 am MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email US new-home sales fell 6.8 pct. in June; possible sign of hot real estate market cooling off read more

DR Congo UN Mission deplores loss of life as police protesters clash

Martin Kobler, head of the UN Organization Stabilization Mission (MONUSCO), deplored the deaths and injuries in the wake of the clashes that occurred yesterday morning as ‘a result of violent demonstrations and the ensuing use of lethal force by the security force.’ “The use of force by law enforcement officers must always be necessary, proportionate, and a measure of last resort,” he emphasized in a statement from his office.According to MONUSCO, the protests came following the Government opposition’s call for demonstrations against the revision of the electoral law voted by the National Assembly on Saturday evening. Protesters gathered in front of the ‘Palais du Peuple’ and a violent crackdown by security forces with tear gas and live ammunition ensued.Clashes with law enforcement officers took place in Lemba, Matete, Ngaba and Victoire, neighbourhoods surrounding the ‘Palais du Peuple’ in Kinshasa.In some districts of the capital city, shops were looted and buses torched. “I also appeal to the opposition to demonstrate peacefully. Protests must be calm and carried out in compliance with the law,” said Mr. Kobler. Preliminary reports put the estimated toll at several dead and injured among both the demonstrators and the law enforcement officers. Protests also took place yesterday morning in Goma, in North Kivu province and Bukavu, in South Kivu province. read more