Compiled by John O'Dell, Times staff writer

New Home Sales: There are bright spots on the new home front, of course, but overall the news is good only in that the situation doesn't seem to be getting much worse.

Among the latest dispatches is a report from marketing consultant Bonnie Benton of Laguna Niguel who says that, while net new home sales in Southern California dropped 22% in the first four months of the year, they were off just 13% in Orange County.

Net sales are defined as the difference between the number of sales contracts that are opened in a given month and the number that are canceled.

A total of 2,049 net sales were reported in Orange County by builders from January through April, Benton said, down from 2,356 for the same period last year. Orange County's performance was the best of the six counties tallied by Hanley Report Weekly Traffic Monitor, which is Benton's source for sales data.

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