The number of Americans buying news homes plummeted in March
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WASHINGTON The number of Americans buying new homes plummeted in March to the slowest pace in eight months, a sign th ugg australia at real estate’s spring buying season is off to a weak start.

The Commerce Department said Wednesday that sales of new homes declined 14.5% last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 384,000. That was the second straight monthly decline and the lowest rate since July 2013.

“Our core view is that the housing market has stalled and won’t contribute” to overall economic growth this year, said Ian Shepherdson, chief economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics.

Rising home prices have caused some buyers to back off at the lower end of the market, while new home buyers at the top continue to buy. As a result, median sales prices jumped 12.6% during the past month to US$290,000.

Home sales usually improve with the start of the spring. More would be buyers venture to open houses. Families with children often begin to look for homes so that they can move once the school year ends. Fed chair Ben Bernanke regrets view he favoured Wall Street over Main Street

Builders anticipated a snap back with the warmer weather. There were 193,000 new homes for sale at the end of the month, about 39,000 more than the same period last month.

Several other indicators also show that housing activity was muted last month.

The National Association of Realtors said Tuesday that sales of existing homes edged down 0.2% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.59 million. It was the seventh drop in the past eight months.

Sales have fallen, in part, because few homes are for sale. There is a 5.2 month supply of existing homes on the market, much less than the 6 month level seen in healthier markets. More construction is needed to boost the supp ugg australia ly, the Realtors’ group argues.

But the improvement in building has been slight.

Builders started work on 946,000 homes at a seasonally adjusted annual rate in March, up 2. ugg australia 8% from 920,000 in February, the Commerce Department said last week. Those figures include both single family homes and rental properties.

Applications for permits, a gauge of future activity, fell 2.4% last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 990,000.

The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo builder sentiment index was 47 in April. Readings below 50 indicate that more builders view sales conditions as poor rather than good.

Sales have also been modest because of affordability issues.

Rising prices over the past year and higher mortgage rates have made it harder for many Americans to afford a home. Real estate data provider CoreLogic says home prices rose 12.2% in the past year. Wage growth last year failed to keep pace with the higher buying costs.

The average rate on a 30 year mortgage was 4.27% last week. Rates surged about 1.25 percentage points from May through September, peaking at 4.6%. Those increases began after the Federal Reserve signalled that it would begin to pull back from its bond buying program.

Those Fed bond purchases were designed to keep long term interest rates low to spur more borrowing and boost economic growth. Since December, the Fed has reduced the size of its monthly purchases to US$55 billion from US$85 billion.

The NRA and the George Zimmerman case

NRA strangely silent on Trayvon Martin

Why has the National Rifle Association been so quiet on behalf of the Trayvon Martin case? Whenever there is a shooting the NRA is quick to state that only a gun will stop another gun. After the Colorado theater shooting the NRA said we need armed guards at theaters. After Sandy Hook, the ugg australia NRA said all teachers should be armed. Why is the NRA not claiming now that all young black men should be armed, especially if they are wearing hoodies? Come on NRA, be consistent with your message.

I am a half Latina who is glad that George Zimmerman will not have to go to prison, being not guilty. It seems absurd that Eric Holder, the Attorney General of the United States, wants to indict Zimmerman for a hate crime because he believes that Zimmerman shot Trayvon Martin because he was black. I live on a fixed income as do many of our residents. We depend on rent control, which allows us all to live in our homes. Many mobile home park owners want to eliminate rent control. When Cindy Chavez was on the San Jose City Council, she supported rent control, and I know she will fight for and stand up to protect rent control as a county supervisor. Please support Cindy Chavez.

Gail Osmer

Alvarado will work for all working people

Contrary to Rachel Sumi (“Paper goes overboard in bashing Cha ugg australia vez,” Letters, July 16), I believe that Cindy Chavez does not fight for “working people.” Chavez fights for working people who have union memberships. She is an advocate of unions and has spent her career demonstrating that fact. Her supporters are pro union and want the public to believe that she will stand up for all of us. She doesn’t and she won’t. The Board of Supervisors needs someone who will look at all sides of an issue and do what’s best for all working people. Teresa Alvarado is a fresh face, and we need her. Dionne Jr. (Opinion, July 18) writes that defenders of the filibuster have let loose a torrent of empty words about tradition of the Senate. It’s a desperate rear guard action against populist progressive attacks on one of the few remaining checks and balances that mitigate tyranny of the majority. Much of the current extensive use is a reaction to Obama style legislation where bipartisanship, extending to where agreement is reached, gives way to coercion, as with health care reform. It’s not just the GOP that takes advantage o ugg australia f the filibuster rule. Democrats would be quick enough to invoke it if they were in the minority. Besides blocking appointments, the filibuster can be used to delay votes on popular misguided legislation. We would be better off today if the filibuster had been used to block the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution or the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Maybe more propitious use could have saved some our mountainous debt. It would be a great shame if an agreement to minimize filibuster usage in blocking presidential appointments was extended to eliminate it altogether.

Fred GutmannPlastic bag ban is cl ugg australia early working

The banning of plastic bags has had an impact in the last few years. Volunteers picked up six bags at an event, compared to 65 back in 2008, so you can see the impact. Back in May, the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute reportedly found plastic bags 2 miles deep in the ocean, proving that the problem is far from over.

As much as people refuse to accept the ban, it’s clear that more people are using reusable grocery bags, as my family does when shopping in San Jose. Some consumers prefer to continue using plastic bags. I propose that we have people with influence encourage schools to show the environmental impact; reaching out to children, parents and other adults will hopefully open their hearts to make plastic bags a thing of the past.