U.S. Economy: Home Sales Drop, Inventories Increase

By Shobhana Chandra

Aug. 27 (Bloomberg) — Sales of previously owned U.S. homes fell to the lowest level in almost five years in July, and the glut of unsold properties climbed to its highest since 1991 as mortgage-market turmoil rippled through the housing industry.

With no recovery in sight for housing, lower property values and higher mortgage costs threaten to weaken consumer spending, economists said. The Federal Reserve this month acknowledged a growing risk to economic growth because of the rising cost of credit. An index of homebuilder shares fell to a four-year low.

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