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P. M. BRIEFING : New-Home Sales Up 0.4% in May

<i> From Times Wire Services</i>

Sales of new homes inched upward 0.4% in May, their first increase in six months, the government said today. Still, sales remained at their lowest level since the economy emerged from its last recession.

The Commerce Department reported that new home sales totaled a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 532,000 units in May after falling 5.2% the previous month. But the April decline was even worse than the 1.6% drop first reported last month.

The rate of sales in both months was the lowest since 521,000 units were sold in December, 1982. The 1981-82 recession ended that November.

At the same time, inventories of new homes slipped to a 8.2-month backlog at the May sales pace. That was down from 8.4 in April but matched the 8.2 level of July, 1982.

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The pace of sales during the first five months of 1990 was down 9.6% from the same period last year.


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