12-16-2017  12:54 pm      •     
MLK Breakfast
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NEWS BRIEFS

Exhibit Explores the Legacy of Portland Bird Watchers

Dedicated bird watchers catapult a conservationist movement ...

Special Call for Stories about the Spanish Flu

Genealogical Forum of Oregon seeks stories from the public about one of history's most lethal outbreaks ...

Joint Office of Homeless Services Announces Severe Weather Strategy

Those seeking shelter should call 211 or visit 211.org. Neighbors needed to volunteer, donate cold-weather apparel ...

Q&A with Facebook's Global Director of Diversity Maxine Williams

A conversation on diversity and the tech industry ...

City Announces Laura John as Tribal Liason

Laura John brings an extensive background in tribal advocacy and community engagement to the city of Portland ...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

OPINION

Don’t Delay, Sign-up for Affordable Healthcare Today

The deadline to enroll or modify healthcare coverage under the Affordable Care Act is December 15. ...

The Skanner Editorial: Alabama Voters Must Reject Moore

Allegations of predatory behavior are troubling – and so is his resume ...

Payday Lenders Continue Attack on Consumer Protections

Charlene Crowell of the Center for Responsible Lending writes that two bills that favor predatory lenders has received bipartisan...

Hundreds Rallied for Meek Mill, but What About the Rest?

Lynette Monroe, a guest columnist for the NNPA Newswire, talks about Meek Mill, the shady judge that locked him up and mass...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

ENTERTAINMENT

Derek Kravitz AP Real Estate Writer

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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