06-29-2017  9:11 am      •     
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NEWS BRIEFS

Local Government, Employers Welcome Youth to SummerWorks

A record 1,150 youth will gain real-world work experience in jobs across Portland metro ...

Multnomah County Library Hosts ‘We Refuse to Be Enemies’

Library will hold a series of social justice workshops this summer ...

The Skanner Wins NNPA Award for Best Layout and Design

Our graphic designer Patricia Irvin wins for July 2016 issues ...

Cooling Centers to open in Multnomah County Saturday, Sunday

Temperatures expected to climb into the upper 90s this weekend ...

Multnomah County Leaders Release Statement on Safety at Summer Events

Officials advise public to check in, have a plan and be aware at public events ...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

OPINION

Ask Ernie the Attorney

Ernest Warren's primary practice is personal injury, real property, corporate and criminal practice in Ore. and Wash. ...

Our Children Deserve High Quality Teachers

It’s critical that parents engage with educational leaders and demand equal access to high quality teachers ...

Civil Rights Groups Ask for Broad Access to Affordable Lending

Charlene Crowell writes that today’s public policy housing debate is also an opportunity to learn from the mistakes of the past and...

Criminal Justice Disparities Present Barriers to Re-entry

Congressional Black Caucus Member Rep. Danny Davis (D-Ill.) writes about the fight to reduce disparities in our criminal justice...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

ENTERTAINMENT

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Americans bought slightly more new homes in October, a hopeful sign for the troubled housing market. But the median sales price fell to its lowest level of the year, and the overall sales pace is trailing last year's - the worst in half a century.

The report suggests housing continues to drag on the U.S. economy and is a long way from recovering.

New-home sales increased 1.3 percent last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 307,000, the Commerce Department said Monday. That's less than half the 700,000 that economists say must be sold to sustain a healthy housing market.

September's figures were also revised down significantly to show a weaker pace than first estimated.

Last year's 323,000 new homes sold were the fewest since the government began keeping records in 1963. This year isn't faring much better.

While new homes sales represent a fraction of the housing market, they have an outsize impact on the economy. Each home built creates an average of three jobs for a year and generates about $90,000 in tax revenue, according to the National Association of Home Builders.

Many builders have stopped working on new projects because they can't obtain financing. The number of new homes for sale in the United States fell in October to a record low of 162,000.

They are also struggling to compete against cheaper re-sales, even as they lower their own prices. The median sales price of a new home fell 0.4 percent in October from September, to $212,300.

Steven Wood, chief economist at Insight Economics, said the small number of new homes for sale should help the housing market recover quicker when prices begin to rise. But he said: "A sustained rebound in new home sales appears unlikely."

For many Americans, buying a home is too big a risk more than four years after the housing bubble burst.

Home prices have tumbled, the job market remains weak and unemployment has been stuck near 9 percent for more two years. Some people who want to buy can't qualify for a loan or make the higher down payments that banks are demanding.

Sales are slumping even though mortgage rates are hovering above historic lows.

Yet sales of previously owned homes are also dismal. They rose slightly last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.97 million units, the National Association of Realtors said last week. That's below the 6 million that economists say is consistent with sales in a healthy market and barely ahead of last year's totals, which were the fewest since 1997.

In October, sales were uneven across the country. They increased 22.2 percent in the Midwest and 14.9 percent in the West. But they were unchanged in the Northeast and fell 9.5 percent in the South.

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